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V, I 


Since this Grazetteer was written, the taluk of Namakkal has been 
retransferred to the Salom district under G.O. No. 641, Ecvenuo, dated 
14th February 1918. A full description of Namakkal taluk is given in 
Mr. Ilominorvvay's Gazetteer of Trichinopoly District, 1907. 



lyTE. LeFanu's " Salem Manual " is a classic, and its revision 
is a work of vandalism. In preparing the revised 
volumes, as much as possible of the original matter is retained, but 
a plethora of new material and the exigencies of space necessitate 
ruthless condensation. Perhaps before long Mr. LeFanu's 
volumes will be reprinted. 

My thanks are due to those whose assistance is acknowledged 
in the foot-notes to the text, and especially to the District 
Officers of all departments for the unfailing courtesy of their 
co-operation. Chapter II (History) is based on a memorandum 
specially drawn up by the late M.E, Ky. Eai Bahadur V. 
Venkayya, and owes much to M.R.Ey, Rao Sahib H. Krishna 
Sastri and Professor S. Krishnaswami Ayyangar. Invaluable 
help has been rendered by Lieut.-Col. R. K. Mitter (on Public 
Health), by Messrs. F. L. C. Cowley-Brown and H. A. Latham 
(on Forests), Messrs. J. Inglis and A. R. deChazal (on 
Irrigation), Mr. Alfred Chatterton, c.i.e (on Textiles), Mr. 
S F. Chetham (oa Crime) and M.R.Ey P. S. Abbayi Nayudu, 
M.R.Ry. Eao Sahib K. D. Subrahmanya Ayyar and others (in 
collecting ethnographic data). 

For convenience of reference a list of the principal books 
consulted is printed on page ix. 

The spelling of vernacular names presents serious diffi- 
culties, owing partly to the circumstance that the District is 
triglott, and names crop up in Tamil, Telugu, Kanarese and 
Sanskrit forms, and partly to the ineradicable carelessness, in 
this respect, of official correspondence. The language locally 
prevailing has been ordinarily preferred; thus Kota is used in a 
Telugu tract Kotiai in a Tamil taluk and Kote in the Kanarese 


country. I have adopted the forms " If avert " and " Pennaiydr " 
in preference to the cacophonous anglicized corruptions 
" Oauvery '• and ''^Penner^'' and have taken the liberty of split- 
ting up some sesquipedalian place-names by hyphens into their 
component parts, because, to English readers, a word like 
'•'' Anantakrishnarayasamudram''^ is even more uncouth than 
'• Fortsaintgeorge''^ or " BurtonontrenV In such eases the dupli- 
cate consonants are usually dropped, e.g., " PalU-patti^'^'' instead 
of PaUi-ppaiti\ and the doubled ^<^ I have transliterated as 
ch, instead of cch^ c^ch, chch, or chchh^ which are unnecessarily 
"frightful." The names of those who have kindly lent a hand 
to the Sisyphean task of proof-reading are too numerous for 
insertion, yet I fear that perfect consistency in the spelling of 
South Indian proper names is humanly unattainable. 

Namakkal Taluk was transferred to Trichinopoly in 1910, 
and Tiruppattur Taluk to North Arcot in 1911. Hence statis- 
tics later than 1910 cannot adequately illustrate the growth 
and progress of the District in comparison with former years, 
and have been, for the most part, omitted. The revised volumes 
were completed early in 19J3, and the task of incorporating 
changes subsequent to that date has been carried out in the 
office of the Board of Eevenue. 

Vbllorb, 7th March 1916. F. J. RICHARDS 


Allan, Capt. A. Views in the "Mysore Country, 1794. 

Axon. Memoirs of the Late War in Asia, by an Officer of Col. Baillie's Detaoli- 

raont, 1788. 
Bkatsox, Lt.-Col. Alexander. A Vieiv of the Origin and Conduct of the War 

ivith Tippoo Sultaun, 1800. 
Bektbaxp, Fathkr J. La Mission du Madure, 1847-50. 
Bktham, Major 11. M. Marathas and Vekhani Musalmans (Hand-books for the 

Indian Army), 1908. 
Bevan, Major H. Thirty Years in India, 1839. 

BtAGDON, F. VV. A Brief History of Ancient and Modem India, 1805. 
BowRi.NG, L. B. Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan (Rulers of India), 1899. 
Bradshaw, John. Sir Thomas Munro (Rulers of India), 1894. 
Bran»is, Sir Diktrich. Indian Trees, 1906. 
Buchanan, Francis. Journey from Madras through Mysore, Canara and Malalar, 

Glabke, Richard. Regulations of the Oovernment of Fort St. George in force at 

the end of 1847. 
Cotton, J. J. List of Inscriptions on Tombs and Monuments in Madras possessing 

historical or archxological interest, 1905. 
Cox, A. F., and Stuart, H. A. Manual of North Arcot District, 1894 and 1895. 
Daniell, Thomas. Oriental Scenery, 1795-1807. 
Dubois, The Ahbe J. A. Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies (ed. H. K. 

Beauchamp, 1897). 
Duff, James Grant. History of the Mahrattas, 1826. 
Dykes, J. W. B. Salem, an Indian Collectorate, 1853. 
Elliot, Sir Walter. Coins of Southern India (Part 2 of Vol. Ill of Marsden's 

' Numismata Orienialia), 1885. 
Fergusson, James. History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, 1897. 
Francis, W. Bellary Gazetteer, 1904. South Arcot Gazetteer, 1906. Madura 

Gazetteer, 1906. 
Fullarton, William. A View of the English Interests in India and an Account 

of the Military Operations in the Southern Parts of the Peninsula, 1782-84, 

Gleig, Rev. G. R. The Life of Major-General Sir Thomas Munro, Bart., 1830. 
Hemingway, F. R, Tanjore Gazetteer 1906. Trichinopoly Gazetteer, 1907. 
Herklots, G. a. Qanoon-e-Islam, 1833. 

Hunter, Lieut. James. Picturesque Scenery in the Kingdom of Mysore, 1805. 
Innes, C. a. Malabar Gazetteer, 1908. 

Kanakasabhai, V. The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago, 1904. 
Keabns, Rev. J. F. Kalyana Shataku, or the Marriage Ceremonies of the Hindus 

of South India, 1868, 
Krishnaswami Aytangar, S. Ancient India, 1911. 
Launat, Adrien. Hiatoire des Missions de VInde, 1898. 
LeFanu, H. Salem District Manual, 1^%Z, (Referred to as S.D.M.) 
MAcquoiD, Capt. C. E. K. Strategy Illustrated by British Campaigns, 1904. 
Miles, Col, W. Hisiory of Hydur Naib, etc., 1842. 

Nahjundayya, H. V. The Ethnographical Survey of Mysore, 1007-12. (Referred 

to as E.S.M.) 
Natesa Sastri, Pandit S. M. Hindri, Feasts, Fasts and Ceremonies, 1903. 
Nelson, J. H. The Madura Country, 1868. 

Nicholson, F. A. Manual of the Coimhatore District, 1887 and 1808. 
Oman, J. C. Brahmans, Theists and Musli'ns of India, 1907. 
Oppert, Gustav. On the Original Inhabitants of Bhnratavarsa or India, 1893. 
Phillips, Dk. Maurice. Evolution of Hinduism, 1903. 
Kick, B. L. Mysore (leferred to as Mysore Gazetteer), 1897. Epigraphia Carna- 

tica, Vols. I to XII, 1886-1905. Mysore and Coorg from the Inscriptions, 

RisLKY, Sir H. H. The People of India, 1908. 

Salt, Hknrx. Vietcs taken in St. Helena, the Cape, India, etc., 1809. 
Scurry, Jamks. The Captivity and Escape of James Scurry, 1824. 
Sewell, R. a Forgotten Empire {Vi jay ana (jar), 1000. The Indian Calendar, 

Shortt, Dr. John. Hill Ranget. 1870. 
Smith, V. A. The Early History of htdia, 190t. 
THO.MPSON, Rev. E. W. A History of India, 1909. 
Thurston, Dr. E. Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, 1906. Castes and 

Trxbes of Southern In^ia, Vols. I to VII, 1909. 
Valkntia, George, Viscount. Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, etc., 1811. 
Watt, Sir George. The Commercial Products of India, 1908. 
Welsh, Col. James. Military Reminiscences, 1830. 
WiLKS, Col. Mark. Historical Sketches of the South of India, in an attempt to 

trace the History of Mysore. (The references quoted relate to the second 

edition, 1869.) 
Wilson, W. J. Hietory of the Madrae Army, 1882-1889. 
YuLK, Sir Uenrt. Ser Marco Polo, 1908. 
ZiKOENBALG, B. Genealogy of the South Indian Oodt, 1869. 

Reference has also been made to the Imperial Gazetteer of India, the Census 
Reports of Madras and Mysore, the Annual Progress Reports of the Archaeologi- 
cal Surrey of Madras and Coorg, the Annual Reports of the Government 
Epigraphist, 1888-1912 (referred to as Q.E.), to Epigraphia Indica (Ep. Ind.}, 
to the Madras Museum Bulletins, to Dr. Hultzsch's South Indian Inscriptions 
(S.I.I.), to the Bombay Gazetteer, to Baramahal Records, Sections I Management 
and III Inhabitants (published by the Madras Qovernnient, 1907), to the 
Pret.0 List of Ancient Records in the Salem Dietrict, 1906, to A Concise History of 
ihe Jagheers and Poliems m the District of North Arcot (North Arcot Coliectorate 
Press, 1864-65), to the Madras Catholic Directory, to the Indian Antiquary (Ind. 
Ant.), to the Asiatic Quarterly Review , and to the Journals of the Royal Asiatic 
Society (J.U.A.S.), the Folk-Lore Society and the Mythic Society (Bangalore). 
Prooeodings of the Board of Revenue and Orders of Government, Madras, 
are referred to as B.P. and G.O., respectively. 






Physical Description 






The People . . 



Agbioultube and Ibbigatioj 


. . 205-247 



. . 248-25S 


Occupations and Trade 

.. 259-293 



.. 294-302 



.. 303-310 


Public Health 

.. 311-319 



. . 320-328 






General Descrivtion. — Fosifcion and Boundaries— Talnks — Natural divisions — 
(A) Balaghat — (R) Baramahal— (C) Talagliafc. Hydrography. Eiter 
Systems. — (A) Kaveri system — (1) Sanat-knmara-nadi — (2) Toppur River — 
(3) Sarabhanga-nadi— (4) Tiru-niani-muttar — (B) Vellar system — (I) 
Vasishta-nadi — (2) Sweta-nadi — (C) Pennaijar system — (I) Markanda- 
nadi — (2) Kambaya-nallur River — (3) Pambar — (4) Vaniyar. Hills. I. 
Balaghat. II. Upper Ghats — Melagiris — Pikkili— Guttirftyan — Anchetti 
Galley — Natara-palaiyam — Urigam — Ilaya-kota Group — Anknsagiri Group — 
Maha-raja-gadai — Baramahal Dargams. HI. Lower Ghats— Perumbalai 
Hills — Manu-konda and Vattala-malai — Shevaroys—Kavara-malai Group — 
Tenando-malai — ■ Tirta-malai — Chitt6ri — Aranuttu-malai — Kottai-patti — 
Tumbal Pass — Kalrftyans. IV. TalaghIt Hills. — Kolli-malai— Pachai- 
malai — Boda-malai — Jerugu-malai and T6n-malai — Sita-malai — Sankagiri 
Group — Kanja-malai— Godu-malai. Climate. Rainfall — Shevaroys. 

Hail. Temperature — Shevaroys. Wind. Geology — (A) Archfean 
Rocks— The Kolar Schist Band— (B) Intrusive Rocks— (1) The Charnockite 
Series — (2) Younger Igneous Intrusions — (a) Basic Dykes— (6) Magnesite 
Series — (c) " White Elephant " Rocks — Subaerial Rocks — Soils. — Mineral 
Products — Ores of Iron — Magnetic Iron Beds — Magnesite — Chromite — 
Corundnm — Gold — Mica — Steatite — Kankar- Clays and Earths — Building 
Stone— Fuller's Earth. Flora— Ferns. Fauna— (A) Domestic Animals- 
Cattle— Horses— (B) Big Game — Elephants — Tigers— Other Felidae— 
Rewards — Other Big Game — (C) Minor Fauna— Mammals — Small Game — 
Snakes — Fish. Appendix. — List of References on Geology. 

Salem District lies between North Latitude 11° 14' 46" and 1.2'' 
53' 30", and between East Longitude 77° 30' 52" and 78° 53' 05".i 

^ These values are based on the preliminary charts of the Survey of India, 
according to the practice of the Madras Survey Department. If bronght into 
accord with the Synoptical Volumes of the Survey of India, the values would 
read "between 11° 14' 43-30" and 12" 53' 27'30" in latitude, and between 77° 30' 
61*25 ' and 78° 53' 04-26" in longitude," 



CHAP. r. 


Position and 



I. Balaghat. 

II. Bara- 

It nomprises an area of 6,300 sqiiaro milos, the size of Wales, less 
Anglesey and Glamorgan.^ On the north it is bounded by the 
Bangalore and K5lar Districts of Mysore ; on the west it is sepa- 
rated by the Kaveri from Coimbatore ; on the south it touches the 
District of Trichinopoly ; on the east those of North and South 
Arcot. Its extreme length from north to south is 112 miles, its 
greatest breadth is 105 miles. ^ 

The District as at present constituted, contains eight Taluks; 
in the south, Salem, Omalur, Tirachengodu, Attur ; in the north, 
Dharmapuri, Uttankarai, Krishnagiri, Hosur. The Taluk of 
Nslmakkal in the south was in 1910 transferred to Trichinopoly, 
that of Tiruppattur in the north in 1911 to the newly formed 
District of North Arcot. 

The present boundaries of the District are the outcome of 
political chance and administrative convenience. It is divided 
by Nature into throe tracts, which have little connection with each 
other, phynical, ethnic, or historical. These throe divisions are 
commonly known as the Balaghat, the Baramahal, and the 

(1) The Balaghat^ is part of the Mysore table-land, and 
resembles Mysore in its general features ; to the north and east an 
undulating plateau, studded with rocky " kopjes," and poorly 
wooded ; to the south and west densely jungle-clad. The average 
elevation is about 3,000' above sea level, dipping to the south-west 
towards the Kaveri. At the time of the cession of this portion of 
the District in 1799, the term Balaghat was applied to what is now 
the Taluk of Hosur. This is not strictly correct, for the Balaghat 
proper, i.e., the plateau country, extends over a large portion of 
Krishnagiri Taluk, while nearly half of Hosur Taluk is below 

(2) The Baramahal is an extensive basin, intermediate between 
the Mysore table-land and the plains. Its general elevation is 
about 1,300' above sea level. Roughly speaking, it comprises the 
Taluks of Dharmapuri, tJttankarai,tho greater part of Krishnagiri, 
and portions of Hosur. It is bounded on the north and west by 
the Mysore plateau ; on the south and east by a second lino of 

^ Inclusive of Namakkal and Tiruppattar Taluks, the area of the District was 
7.530 square miles, i.e., IGO square miles larger than Wales with Anglesey. 

2 I.e. from the tri-junction of Tiruchengodu, Erode and Namakkal Taluks to 
the Mysore border of Hosur Taluk, and from the tri-junction of Hosur and KoUegai 
Taluks with Mysore territory to the tri-junction of Attar, Perambalur and 
Vriddhachalam Taluks. 

' The word Balaghat means " the tract above the ghats ". 

* In the east, the country round Veppana-palli'.j in the west, the valleys 
adjoining the Kavfiri, 


Ghats,^ the most conapiouoiis members of which are the hill ranges CHAP. I. 
of the Javadis, Tirta-malai, the Chitteris, tho Shevarojs, and the Gknkral 

Mannkonda-malai. On the south-west this barrier is represented ' 

by the broken country between Pennagaram and Omaltir, which 
is skirted on the District frontier by the Kaveri. The word 
Bararaahal is variously interpreted as " Twelve Palaces " and 
" Twelve Districts." The latter is tho more probable meaning, for 
by popular tradition Jagadeva Raya had twelve sons, to whom 
he assigned twelve administrative divisions, and Colonel Miles, in 
his Histori/ of Ilydur Naik, speaks of the Baramahal as the 
" Twelve Pargunas." The Raya's sons may be mythical, but the 
tradition of the division of the country into twelve administrative 
charges seems correct. No two lists, however, of the twelve 
" Mahals " agree. ^ 

(3) The Talaghat, as its name implies, is the country below HI Talaghat. 
the ghats, and differs little in general aspect from the adjacent 
districts of Trichinopoly, South Arcot and Coimbatore. The 
watershed between the Kaveri and the Vellar river systems 
divides the Talaghat into two portions, the eastern of which 
coincides with the taluk of Attur, the western with Salem, Omalur 
and Tiruchengodu. Salem Taluk, with Omalur, slopes gradually 
from a maximum elevation of about 1_,200' in the plains, Salem 
Town being 900' above sea level ; Attur Taluk is somewhat 
lower ; Tiruchengodu Taluk is lower than Attur, and near Erode 
is not more than 550' above sea level. 

On a glance at the map it will be observed that Salem Dis- Hydrogba- 
trict is intersected by numerous ridges and valleys more or less ^^'^• 

^ Called hereafter the " Lower Ghats " to distinguish them from the " Upper 
Ghats " which fringe the Balaghat plateau. 

2 The names of the " Twelve Pnrgunas " as given hj- Buchanan are-* 

(7) Katorgarh, 

(8) Tripaturu 

(9) Vaniambadi. 

(10) Ganganagarh. 

(11) Sudarsanagarh. 

(12) Thattakalla. 

(1) Krishnagiri. 

(2) Jagadevagarh (Jagadevi-durgam). 

(3) Varanagarh (Virabhadra-durgara). 

(4) Kavalgarh. 

(5) Mabarajgarh (Maharaja-gadai). 

(6) Bajangagarh. 
It is by no means certain that tho term Baramahal dates back to the time of 

Jugadfiva Riiya, and if it does, it does not follow that the above list is as old, or 
seen that it is correct. With the vicissitudes through which the District passed, 
administrative divisions must have undergone changes. For instance, up to 
1808, Kangundi was part of the Baramahal, while Mallappadi in Buchanan's time 
belonged to the Navvab of Arcot. Raya-kota waa newly included in the Baramahal 
by Lord Cornwallis' Treaty of 1792. From this it would appear that, istrictly 
speaking, the Baramahal is confined to the Taluks of Krishnagiri and northern 
Tiruppattur. The historic Baramahiil, i.e., the eastern portiou of the geographi- 
cal Baramahal, has a history somewhat distinct from that of the western or 
Dharmapuri-tJttankarai portion. 



CHAP. I. parallel to one another, the general trend of which is N.N.E. 

Hydrogra. and S.S.W. On the other hand, the general direction of the 
^°^' main rivers is at right angles to this. The explanation of this 
phenomenon is to be sought in the geological structure of the area 

The surface drainage of the Mysore table-land would naturally 
take the shortest course to the sea. Hence the general direction of 
the plateau drainage through the District, as represented by the 
Pennaiyar and Palar and the upper reaches of the Kaveri, is from 
W.N.W. to E.S.E. But the direction of these " master streams " 
is modified, and that of their tributaries determined, by the relative 
hardness or softness of the rocks over which they flow. 

The Arch?ean rocks, which compose the greater part of the Dis- 
trict, were crushed and folded in very early geological times by 
forces acting apparently in a S.E.-N. W. direction. The axes of the 
folds so formed necessarily run at right angles to this, i.e., N.E. and 
S.W. Throughout the whole of the geological time during which 
the tremendous thickness of sedimentary rocks known in England 
and elsewhere was being deposited, the Archfean rooks of Salem 
District were subjected to continuous denudation. The amount of 
rock removed by denudation must have been vast, a thickness 
possibly of five or six miles. Denndation, as it advanced, would 
expose the edges of the folded rock-beds, and the general direction 
of the outcrop of bedding, or " strike",^ as it is technically called, 
would be the same as that of the axes of the folds, viz., N.E. and 

^ A cursory examinntion of the Reological map shows that the general diroo- 
tionof strike from Dharmapuri, across the country north of the Shovaroys, and 
across the TenandC-malai, to the main mass of the Kalrftyans, is north-oast nnd 
south-west. Towards Tlrta-malai the strike tends to become north and south. 
As the hills approach the Salern-Attar valley, however, the strike approximates 
to east-and-west, parallel to the course of the Vasishta-nadi, and this holds pood 
in the hilly tract between Salem and Uasipnram. (M the other hand, west of the 
Salem-Namakkal road the general Rtrik<! is almost north-and-south, i.e., paral- 
lei to tlie course of the 'i'iru-mani-mnttar. In the neighbomhood of the Chalk 
Hills, and of Paittar, both dip and strike vary in a bewildering way. The 
regularity with which valleys and ridges follow thf direction of strike, in the por- 
tions of the District which have been surveyed, make it tolerably certain that the 
same principles will be found to hold good in the nnsarveyed area too. The 
Attur valley may, or may nof, represent the conrse once taken by a main line of 
drainage ; in any case, the east-and-west trend of the Vasishta-nadi and 
Sw6ta-nadi, and of the Jerngu imd Tfin-malai hills, appears to follow the lino 
of strike, and these exceptions only go to prove the rule. In the extreme south 
of the District the rocks form a vast horse-shoe curve. This huge curve, which 
includes the whole mass of the Kolli-malais and the Talai-malai in Namakkal 
Taluk has its apex to the west, outside of the limits of the aroji, surveyed by the 
Geological Surveyors ; bat, the curve of many of the inner (npper) beds was 
traced with perfect ease, demonstrating the reabty of the flexure. 



S. W. Soft rooks arc denuded more rapidlj than hard rocks. Hard 
rocks stand out as rid<;cos, soft rocks are hollowed out to form river 
valleys. Both ridj^os and valleys run in a direction parallel to ^^ 

the direction cf strike. Such " strike valleys " are well represented 
in the Passes of Kottai-patti, Maujavadi and Mallapuram, while 
the ridges of the Javadis, Chitteris, Tenande-malais and Vattala- 
malais mark the outcrop of harder rocks. 

Two causes tend to modify the general principles above laid 
down : (1) the local variations in the direction of strike, (2) the 
occurrence in some places of the extremely hard and compact rockb 
of the Charnockite Series, which appear to have been formed either 
by the melting down of crushed rocks, or by the injection of a 
molten magma at great depths. Owing to their great resistance to 
denudation, these masses of charnockite are left as hills, of which 
the Shevaroys are a typical example, while the surrounding 
country is worn down to a lower level. 

It would seem that the Kaveri and the Pennaiyar are not able 
to cut through the harder rocks athwart their course so rapidly as 
their tributaries erode the strike valleys through which they flow. 
The result is that, wherever one of these streams is joined by an 
important tributary, it abruptly changes the direction of its course 
at the point of junction, and follows for some distance the direction 
of its tributary.^ 

The river systems are three in number : — (A) The Kav6ri Eiver 
system, within the v/atershed of which lie the southern portion of systems. 
Hosur and Dharmapuri drained by the Sanat-kumara-nadi and 
the Toppur River, and the taluks of Salem, Omalur and Tiruchen- 
g5du, drained by the Sarabhanga-nadi and the Tiru-mani-muttar. 
(B) The Vellar system, comprising the Vasishta-nadi and 
Sw^eta-nadi of Attur Taluk, twin rivers which unite east of the 
District boundary, forming the Vellar of South Arcot, which flows 
into the sea at Porto Novo. (C) The Pennaiyar, which drains the 
northern portion of the Balaghat, and the Baramahal, the south- 
western corner of Dharmapuri excepted. The chief tributaries to 
this are the Markanda-nadi, the Kambaya-nallur Eiver, the 
Pambar and the Vaniyar. 

The Kaveri skirts the District on the west. Four times in its 
course along the District border it turns sharply at right angles, 
namely, at the points, where it is joined by (i) the Sanat-kumara- 
nadi, below the celebrated falls of Hogena-kal, (2) the Kollegal 

A. The 

^ A characteristic of many rirera, especially in India. Familiar examples of 
such change of course are (1) Kistnaand Xnngabhadra, (2) Ehoneand Saone, (3) 
Missouri and Mississippi. 


CHAP. r. Palar, some 14 miles below the falls, (3) the Toppur River at 
Rivers. Solappadi, and (4) the Bhavani Eivor at Bhavani. At each turn it 
adopts the direction pursued by its tributary in preference to its own. 
The Kaveri is usually fordable, within the District limits, in March 
and early April, and again late in May and throufrhout Juno. For 
the rest of the year it is unfordable. When in fresh the rivei rises 
10, 15 or even 20 feet. At intervals in its upper course, generally 
at points where it cuts through hard rocks, it forms deep natural 
pools, locally known as madurus, which, even in the driest 
season, retain water to a depth of 30 or even 60 feet. The position 
of these madxwus is permanent, and docs not shift from year 
to year, and they occur at points where the river course bends, 
narrows or drops, or where it is obstructed by rocky barriers. The 
bed of the Kaveri, in its course along the District border, is too 
deep and too rocky to allow of its water being iised for irrigation. 

Of its tributaries (I) the Sanat- kumara-nadi, otherwise called 
the Chinnar,^ rises in the hill of Dovara-betta (3,368') near 
Tali, in a j'onai, or sacred well, said to have been constructed by 
a sage named Sanatkumara. After flowing through Tali, it takes 
an eastward course to within a mile of Kela-mangalara, where 
its career is checked by the rock mass of Hude-dnrgam. Thence 
it flows south to the Pikkili Hills, whore it is again deflected, this 
time to the west. It joins the Kavori just below the Hogoua-kal 

(2) The Toppur River, otherwise known as the Yoppadiyar, 
rises near Muluvi, on the Shevaroys, whence it flows north-east 
through the ravine along which the Mallapuram Ghat road is 
traced. In this ravine is the small village of Veppadi, from which 
the river takes one of its names. Near Mallapuram it turns due 
west, passes Toppur, and joins the Kaveri at Solappaxii. 

(3) The Sarabhanga-nadi takes its name from a Rishi who 
is believed to have done penance at one of its sources. It is formed 
by two streams which unite at Omalur, where they are locally 
known as the East and West Rivers. The first of those, usually 
called the Pcriyar, rises in Yercaud. Shortly after leaving the 

' There are jistuiy " Chinniirs " or "Little Rivers" in the District. The 
nomenclatnre of rivers is perplexing. An ordinary villager knows only the 
river of his own village, which he calls simply " the Kiver." If there are tyr-o, 
ho distinguishes them as "iiig IJiver " and *' Little River." To diatingnish the 
river which flows through his own village from that which (lows through another 
village, he calls each river by the name of the village through which it flows. 
Hence, in practice, a river tends to change its name whenever it passes a village 
boundary. Sometimes a river is ci-lled after the largest town or village through 
which it passes, e.g., 8alem River or Mattur River. More rarely it earns a 
descriptive title, such as White River or Milk River. 


Yercaud lake, it phmgos down the Kiliyur falls, and then turns Chap. I. 
westward, towards Omalur. '^l^ho second foodor, called variously Rivers 
the Patti-padi River, the Pariaukuli Eiver, the Kuttar, or the " Grhat ~" 
Eiver " in various parts of its course, rises on the western slopes of 
the Shovaruvan, and flows down the Kadaiyampatti Ghat ravine. 
After crossing the railway lino it turns south, and continues in that 
direction till it joins the Periyar. The combined stream fills several 
largo tanks near Edappadi in Tirucheng5du, and joins the Kaveri 
near Kaveri-patti. 

(4) The Tiru-mani-muttar (Tamil = " river of the sacred 
pearl ") is so called from the fact that the freshwater mussels, which 
abound in its lower roaches, sometimes produce pearls. It is com- 
monly called the Salem River. It is formed by two streams, which 
take their rise near the Manjavadi Pass, and unite about three miles 
above Salem. From Salem it flows due south and joins the Kaveri 
in Namakkal Taluk. Its chief tributary is the Elur River, which 
drains the southern slopes of the BSda-malais and the basin in which 
Easipuram lies. A small stream from the Kanja-malai, called the 
Pounar or " Gold Eiver," fills the Malla-samudram Tank, and joins 
the Salem Eiver four miles below.^ 

The country between the Kalrayans and the Kolli-malai-Pachai- B. Tho 
malai range is drained by two rivers, the Yasishta-nadi and the Bygtem. 
Sweta-nadi. The watershed between those two rivers is formed 
by the Paittur Hills. Tho word Sweta-nadi in Sanskrit means 
" White River:" and the Tamil for « White River " is " Vellar.^' 
The term Vellar is applied to both those twin streams indifferently 
by some people, though why tho term is used is not clear, for both 
rivers, when in fresh, flow with ruddier waters than any other 
river in the District. There is a legend that Arjuna, the Pandava, 
when on a pilgrimage, camo to the spot where the river rises, and, 
when he wished to perform fuja^ he could not find water ; so he 
drove a hole in tho rock with his arrow, and the water welled up 
and formed a river. As Arjuna is called Sweta-vahana, the river 
was called Vellar. The Vasishta-nadi is said to derive its name 
from the Eishi, Vasishta, who performed a ydgam^ or sacrifice, near 
Belur ; some white rock to be found north of that village is supposed 
to be the ashes of the sacrifice, and is used by Saivite worshippers 
as pibhuti, for making the sacred marks upon their foreheads. 

^ A jewel of the Goddess in the Siva temple, Mettu Street, Salem, is set with a 
pearl said to have come from the Tiru-mani-muttar. It is in the shape of a grain 
of wheat, and six times as large. It is said that, when it was first discovered > 
it was as large as tho top of the little finger of a man's left hand. A much 
smaller pearl from this river is preserved as an heirloom in the family of 
Mr. Snndram Chettiyar of Shevapet. 




C, The 

The Yasishta-nadi, which is the uorthern of the sistor streams, 
and is sometimes called the F*crdr, rises iu the Araniittu-malai and 
flows north for about seven miles. It then turns abruptly south, 
through the Kiri-patti valley, entering the plaius near Bolur. Two 
miles below Belur it receives the waters of the Kariya-kovil Eiver, 
which drains the Kalrayans and is itself reinforced by the 
Amma-palaiyam River, flowing from the head of the Kottai-patti 
Pass. As it approaches the Salem-Attur road, the Vasishta-nadi 
bends eastwards, and, close to Krishnilpuram, receives another 
tributary, the Singapuram river, this time from the south. The 
main stream keeps close to, and almost in sight of, the Caddaloro 
road, au far as Talaivasal, where it is crossed by a bridge. Just 
west of Attur, a third tributary, known as the Mekka-palli River, 
flowing from Malli-karai, joins the main stream. The Vasishta- 
nadi fertilises some of the richest land in the District and is crowded 
with anaikats. Its freshes rarely fail. 

The Sweta-nadi, which is the southern of the sister streams, 
receives almost the entire drainage of the Kolli-malai and Pachai- 
malai Hills. In the fertility and constancy of its freshes it 
resembles the Vasishta-nadi. It is joined by no tributaries of 

The PennaiySr takes its rise near Nandidrug in Mysore, where 
it is known as the Southern Pinakini. The name is said to be 
derived from pinaka, the bow of Siva. The Tamil name is 
difficult to account for. The forms " Pennaiyar " and " Ponnaiyar " 
are used indifferently. It is believed that, during a great drought, 
Siva bade Psxvati go forth from Nandidrug in the form of rivers, 
that the goddess obeyed and flowed in two directions, forming the 
rivers known as the Northern and the Southern Pinakini, and 
that the rivers were so named from the figure traced out by their 
courses, which faintly resembles the outline of a bow. The 
Ponnaiyar is thus a manifestation of Parvati, and so sacred are its 
waters, that even the Ganges oomes and bathes in them for five 
days every year, to cleanse itself of the sins it has washed from 

The Pennaiyar enters Hosur Taluk in a south-easterly direction 
at a spot three miles north-west of Bagaliu". After crossing? the 
Malur road, its waters make their way southwards iu a very 
irregular course, till the Stilagiri road is crossed. Its course is then 
more uniform to within a mile of the Eaya-koba road, when it turns 
due east and passes to the Baramahal, where it is joined by the four 
tributaries already named. At the points of junction with each of 
these tributaries the Pennaiyar alters the direction of its course. 
The first two bends, where it meets the Markanda-nadi and the 


Kambaya-nalltir River, are obtuse ; the last two, where it unites CHAP. I 

with the Panibilr and Yauiyar, arc remarkably aento. After Bivers. 

crossing the Efiramahal it quits the District through the Chcngam 

gap, between Tirta-malai and the Javadis, south of Singarapet, 

and pursues its course to Cuddalorc. The bed of the Pennaiyar, 

till it reaches the Baraniahal, is too deep and rugged to admit of 

irrigation. In the Baramahal it is still, when in fresh, a violent 

and rapid stream, but its waters supply the Barur Project, and in 

the vicinity of Kilveri-patnam it feeds many spring channels which 

afford abundant direct irrigation and terminate in tanks. 

Of its tributaries, (1) the Markanda-nadi, otherwise called the 
Chinnar, flows due south from the Mvsoro Plateau throug^h the 
valleys of Tirtam and Veppana-palli and joins the Pennaiyar soon 
after the latter emerges on the low country of the Baramahal. 

(2) The Kambaya-uallur l^iver drains the major portion of 
Dharmapuri Taluk ; by the Pula-halli IJiver it receives the run-off 
of the Pikkili Hills and the country round Palakodu, and by the 
Dharmapuri River that of the northern slopes of the Vattala-malai. 

(3) The Pambar rises on the Javadis and Yelagiris of Tirup- 
pattur Taluk, and from Tiruppattur southwards it follows a course 
of remarkable straightness through Uttanfearai to the Pennaiyar, 
which receives its waters shortly before quitting the District. 
£n route it is joined by the Bargur Eiver, the Mattur Eiver and the 
Sandur Eiver. 

(4) The Vaniyar rises in the Shevaroys near Yercaud. The 
gorge down which it flows is the grandest in the District. The 
river reaches the plains at Venkata-samudram ; thence, crossing 
the road, it passes Harur and joins the Pennaiyar just below its 
confluence with the Pambar. 

The Hills of Salem District afford perhaps its greatest charm. Hills 
The Balaghat plateau itself is rather monotonous, the only con- 
spicuous heights being Devara-betta (3,364') where the Sanat- 
kumara-nadi takes its rise, and the Pagoda Hill at Hosur (3,116'). 
To the south and east, however, the plateau breaks into the upper 
line of Ghats which fringe the Baramahal on the north and west. 
From the plateau side the approach to Grhats is marked by a 
scattered chain of hill forts, which constituted the last line of 
defence against an invading army from the plains. The chief of 
these are Sulagiri, Tiyarana-durgam (2,930'), Anchetti-durgam, 
(3,192'), Munesvara-konda (south of Jakkeri, 2,982'), Nilagiri 
(3,054'), the group of hills of which Hude-dnrgam (3 182') and 
Eatnagiri (2,805') are the best known, and lastly, near the head 
of the Anchetti Ghat, JMallikarjuna-durgam (2,996') and Kundu- 
kota-konda (3,319'). 

I. The 




II. Thk 

A. Melagiris. 

a) Anobeiti. 

(b) Nataia- 

(0) Origam. 

Tho upper lino of Ghats is divided into four sections bv the 
valleys of the Sanat-kumara-nadi, the Pennaijar and the Mar- 

The broken country between the Sanat-kumara-nadi and the 
Kaveri is commonly called the Melagiri Hills. Tho former river, 
in its course from near Tali to Hogena-kal, describes a crescent the 
horns of which point west. A chord to this arc is formed by a 
massive ridge of mountains running north-east by north, and south- 
west by south, which culminates in the Guttirayan {4,b7Q'). This 
ridge determines the course of the Ane-bidda-halla, which drains 
its west flank. Between the Ane-bidda-halla and the Kaveri lie 
five valleys, each trending north and south, the third and largest 
of which opens out into the Anchetti basin, drained by the Dodda- 
halla. The Urigam basin lies to tho west of the Anchetti valley, 
the basin of Natarapalaiyam to the east. The other two valleys 
are of minor importance. 

The Anchetti Valley is formed by the conHuence of two 
streams, one of which drains the Salivaram plateau and descends 
by the Kundu-kota G-hat, and the other rises near Javulagiri and 
flows via Pani and Mariyalam. Their united waters arc reinforced 
further south by streams from the valleys of Miladikki and Tagatti, 
and by the Ebhalla from the Manchi plateau, forming the Dodda- 
halla Kiver, which flows for six miles through a deep ravine, and 
discharges into the Kaveri. The Anchetti basin is closed on the 
north-east by tho Mariyalam hill (3,449'), on the south by Chikka- 
betta, (3,356'), and on the east by the Manchi plateau, but it gives 
easy access to Urigam via Tagatti on the west, to Biligundlu 
(870') via Natarapalaiyam on the south, and to Pennagaram via 
Geratti and the Ane-bidda-halla valley on the south-east. 

The Natarapalaiyam basin is much smaller than that of 
Anchetti. Its general level is little over 1 ,700'. It is closed in on 
the west by Chikka-betta, on the south by Chellappan-betta (3,1 45') 
and on the oast by a ridge rising to 2,900'. On the north-east, 
however, it opens towards the Geratti flat, and a good view is 
obtained of tho Guttirayan. 

The Urigam basin is a flat valley, about six miles long and 
three miles wide. The village Urigam, at tho head of the valley, 
is 1,960' above sea level. At Kottevur, two miles further south, 
the elevation 18 1,870 . The valley is accessible from Anchetti via 
Tagatti (1 ,900'). The valley is bounded on the east by the lofty 
ridge on which lies Attinattam village (3,164') and " Hundred- 
and-one Swami " Hill. On the west is a similar ridgo running 
from Pillikallu village (3,070') to Tadagane (or Tatakani, 2,910'). 
Beyond this ridge is a series of hills and valleys, dominated by the 


lofty peak of Chokka-betta (3,718') the westernmost corner of the CHAP. I. 
District. Hills. 

The Guttirfijau (4,579' ) is accessible without much difficulty n ^~p^^ 
from the village of Ayyur, where there is a good forest rest-house. Ghats, 
The distance duo south is about 1 1 miles. The path runs through ' Gutiira- 
some of the finest bamboo jungle in the District, skirts the western 
flank of the Betta-mugalalam plateau, and overlooks the Ane-bidda- 
halla ravine. After passing the jungle-choked sites of several 
deserted villages, the path leads to the head of the great east-and- 
west Tirumalavadi ravine, and emerges from the forest at the 
village of Kodiyur, perched on a level terrace on the north flank of 
the Guttirayan, Kodiyur is inhabited by Sivachars, who still re- 
member the wholesale abandonment of the country at the time of 
the Great Famine. The innumerable rdgi pits in the vicinity of 
the village prove that its cultivation was once far more extensive 
than it is now. From Kodiyur a steady climb of some three miles 
leads across grassy glades, alternating with dense evergreen 
forests ^, to the summit of the Guttirayan. The summit is bare of 
tree growth, and carpeted with springy turf spattered with gray 
lichen-clad rocks. The view is one of the finest in the District. 
To the west is a wilderness of mountain and jungle, with here and 
there a tiny patch of cultivation. The Kaveri can be seen winding 
its way through the maze of hills, and beyond it tower the Ponnachi 
Mountains of Kollegal. To the east is a bird's eye view of the 
Morappur amphitheatre and the plains beyond, to the south the 
vale of Pennagaram, breaking away to meet the Kaveri at 
Hogena-kal, and far beyond to the south-east is the mountain 
mass of the Shevaroys. 

The western side of the Ane-bidda-halla ravine is bounded by 
the cultivated plateau of Toluvu-betta and Manchi. The Toluvu- 
betta plateau rises to a height of nearly 4,000'^. The general 
level of the Manchi plateau is about 3,000' ; it rises to 4,612' on the 
Ane-bidda-halla side, and tails off towards the south in a long ridge. 
The arc between the Ane-bidda-halla and the Sanat-kumara- 
nadi is bisected by a ravine running from west to east in the 
direction of Palakodu. This ravine, at the head of which stands 
the hamlet of Kesaraguli, forms part of the Tirumalavadi Mitta. 
North of the ravine is the plateau of Betta-mugalalam, on which 
are the Glenshaw estate and Melagiri Fort. The highest points 
in the coronet of hills that surrounds this plateau are Jenkal- 
betta (4,150') and Ijalhatti-kal (4,089'). South of the ravine is a 

* The chief species are Terminalia arjuna&nd Eugenia jambolana, 
2 Adkal 3,820', Gubi-kal 3,969', Vadar-gaddai 3,877'. 



CHAP. 1. 

II. Upper 

Pikkili Hills. 

B. Kaja- 
kOf« Oroap. 

C. Ankasagiri 

huge amphitheatre of hills opening to the south, which was once 
cultivated, but is now (except for a few scattered hamlets) a louel}' 
jungle. In the heart of the vallej is the deserted site of Morappur 
village (1 ,690' ). The west of the valley is guarded hy the moimtain 
mass of the Guttirayan, with its ofPshoot Kavilai-drug or Kagal- 
malai (3,538') ; to the north are Uchikal (8,904') and Erimalai 
(3,510'), and to the east the hamlet of Kottaiytir (c. 3,000'). 

To the south-west of this Morappur valley the coiurso of the 
Sanat-kumara-nadi is doQeoted westward by a remarkable ridge 
known as the Pikkili Hills. But for the obstruction offered 
by this ridge, the Sanat-kumara-nadi would flow into the 
Pennaiyar and not into the Kavori. Between the ridge and the 
river there is now a level plateau or shelf, on which the once 
prosperous village of Pikkili, with its hamlets, is situated. The 
south of the ridge rises into three peaks, Tambirayan (3,367'), 
Kukli-malai (3,183' ) and Adda-malai (3,107' ). 

The (rhat line between the Sanat-kumara-nadi and the 
Pennaiyar is occupied by a wedge of chaotic mountains jutting 
southwards into the plains, of whicii Eaya-kota-durgain (3,239'), 
Virabhadra-durgam (3,038') and Bole-Timmaraya-durgam (3,389') 
are the most conspicuous members, 

The Baramahal is bounded on the Dorth by the portions of 
the Mysore plateau comprised in the Kolar District and Kangundi 
Zamindari. Here the plateau thrusts long southward-trending 
buttresses into the plains below, intersected by narrow valleys 
formed by the head waters of the Markanda-nadi, the Mattur 
River and the Bargur River. The Markanda-nadi valley has two 
branches, separated by a long low ridge known as the Ada-konda 
or Adara-konda. The western branch forms the Tirtam basin, and 
the eastern branch the Veppana-palli valley. The western wall 
of the Markanda-nadi valley is formed by the mountain mass 
which rises sharply norih of the Pennaiyar, and culminates in 
Balakonda-raya-durgam (3,046'), Ankusagiri and Kundani-malai. 
The Tirtam basin lies north of this, and opens on the north in the 
Pass of Budi-kota, the old Bandu Out or "Army Road", which 
gave access to the Mysore plateau in the days of Colonel Joseph 
Smith. To the west, the basin is hemmed in by the fringe of 
hills, of no great altitude, which marks the termination of the Bala- 
ghat portion of Berikai Palaiyam, and on the north by a long low 
ridge known as the Pal-mal-konda, between wliich and the Adara- 
konda is another pass leading to Kama-samudram. Tiie east of the 
Markanda-nadi valley is bounded by a long serrated ridge which, 
starting from Malappa-kouda Hill (3,600'), the trijuuotion of 
Chittoor and Salem Districts with Mysore State, rises to a height 


of 2,700', ending- in a gronp of hills of which Oroddi-konda CHAP. I. 
(2,424'), Malakonda (2,310') and Boggulu-konda (2,501') aro the Hit-^s. 

East of this ridg-o we enter the watershed of the Mattur ghat.-=. 
Kiver, backed by the mountain mass of Maharaja-gad ai Hill d, Muharaja- 
('S,88S'), a landmark for many miles around. The village of B'ldai'. 
Mahanlja-gadai lies at the mouth of a ravine which separates 
this hill from the ridge east of Veppana-palli. Up this ravine 
runs a path which loads to Kuppam. 

The Bargur Bivor takes its rise in three valleys east of Maha- 
raja-gadai Hill, opening respectively on to the villages of 
Pungurntti, Mcdugam-patti and Oppattu-vadi. They are of 
little importance, the hills which encircle them rarely exceeding 
2,100' in altitude. 

Outliers of the Mysore plateau are scattered over the TheBara- 
Baramahal, the chief being Gaganagiri, otherwise called Periya- Dnpgams 
malai (3,436'),Tattakkal (2,629'), Jagadevi-durgam (2,647'), Naga- 
malai, Pu-malai (North of Mallappadi 2,599'), JVJallappadi Hill 
(2,364') and Krishnagiri Fort Rock (2,409'). 

The second line of Grhats, to the south and east of the Bara- III. The 
mahal, is divided into six sections by the Passes of Toppur, Lower 
Mallapuram, Manjavadi, Kottai-patti and Chengam. The section 
north of the Chengam Pass, comprising the Javadi Hills, has been 
transferred to the new North Arcot District. 

(1) The country between the Kaveri and the Toppur Pass is l- Perumbalai 
in general level intermediate between Pennagaram Division and ^^^^' 
Omalur Taluk. It is intersected by two valleys, that of the 
Maddala-pallam and that of the Palar, Pambar, or Perumbalai 

Between the Maddala-pallam and the Kaveri the country rises 
to a lofty ridge, overlooking, and parallel to, the course of the 
Kaveri. The chief peaks of this ridge are Biyanur-malai (2,788')^ 
Koppu-malai (2,627'), Kadriappan-malai (2,936') and Segala-malai 
(2,168'). These eminences are distant some 3 or 4 miles from 
the Kaveri bank. In the intervening space is a second ridge, less 
regular and less lofty, the highest points being Karala-malai 
(1,609') and Karungal (1,524'). 

The Maddala-pallam averages 1,000' in elevation, towards the 
north it rises to 1 ,200' or even 1 ,300', and towards the south it 
sinks to 800'. The chief villages in this depression are Sigarala- 
palli, Ajjam-patti (1,120') and Neruppur (900'). 

^ The Kav6ri above Hogena-kal flows straight towards Biyanur-malai and it 
is at the very foot of this hill that the river is deflected at a right angle. 





III. Lower 

2, Manu- 
kouda anil 

:j. The 

Between the Maddala-pallam and the Perumbllai River is an 
extensive plateau of rocky undulating ground, covered with low 
jungle, the ordinary elevation of which is from 1,400' to 1,500', 
though occasionally rising to 1,800' or 1,900'. This plateau is cut 
in all directions bv small streams, the valleys of which lie about 
200' below the plateau level. The highest portion of this plateau 
is round the village of Donnak\itta-halli, which itself is situated 
on a high table-land. East of this village is Bonthal-betta (1,826'), 
west is Janda-Kaninkal (1,633'), and south-west Garadi-gutta 
(1,981'). The Perurabalai valley runs from Indur in a south- 
westerly direction to join the Toppur River. The bed of the 
Pambar is low, relatively to the surrounding hills. The levels are 
Raskol-patti 1,070', Ranihalli 1,030', Perurabalai 970'. On 
nearing the latter village the valley opens out. Between the 
Pambar and the Toppur Ghat Eoad is a plateau, ranging in 
elevation from 1,400', the general level, to 1,500', and sometimes 
even 1,600'. Towards the south, this plateau falls away to the 
Toppur River, the level of which at Toppur is little more than 
1,100' above sea level. South of the river are outliers of this 
plateau in the Gundakal ridge (1,502'), the Ramaswami-malai 
(1,094') and the Elattur Reserve (1,539'). 

(2) The Hills between the Toppur Pass and the Mallapuram 
Ghat are intersected by the Toppur River. The southern portion 
rises to a height of 3,164' in the Manukonda-malai, roimd the 
western base of which the Ghat Road curves. The hills eastward 
of the Manukonda-malai do not exceed 2,400' ^ North of the 
Toppur River the ground rises rapidly ^ (save for the Reddi-halli 
gap, which gives access from Laligam to Mallapuram) towards the 
Vattala-malai, an abrupt narrow ridge 1 1 miles in length, culmi- 
nating in the conspicuous Mukkanur Peak (4,201') which over- 
hang's the Morappur-Dharmapuri Railway. On the summit of the 
Vattala-malai there are several hamlets. 

(3) Through the Mallapuram Ghat runs the Madras- Calicut 
Railway; the highest point in the line being 1,508' above sea 
level. Through the Manjavadi Pass runs the Trunk Road from 
Madras to Salem. The highest point in the road is 1 ,800' above 

sea level. 

Between the Mallapuram Ghat and the Manjavadi Pass are 
the Shevaroy Hills, the noblest mountain mass in the District. 

1 In Loktir Eeeerve, Pula-malai (2,252'), I'amala-malai (2,251') and Boda- 

malai (2,391'). 

* Close to Toppur arc Tamarai-malai (2,920'), Gundal-Guddai (2,360'), Ethu- 
malai (2,640') and Kuchu-karada (2,303'). 



• -, J^^^^f **^«^ ^^n&th of the Hills is 1 7 miles, the greatest width CHAP. I. 
18 1.; Ihoy cover about 1 00 sqnare miles. The southern slopes Hir.r.s. 
rise abruptly from the plains to a height of from 4,000' to 4,800' r,j 77,,^ 
above sea level, except for the spur on which the villages of G.imlur « ha«. 
and iappa-kadu are situated and up which the Old Ghat ascends. 
Ihis abruptness determines the watershed, and most of the drain- 
age of the Hills flows towards the north. Hence the northern 
slopes of the ShevaroYs, like those of the Kolli-malais, are broken 
with deep ravines. 

The range is severed into two portions by the Vaniyar valley, 
which rises m the south near Sengadu, and flows in a north- 
east^erly direction, almost exactly parallel to the Manjavadi Pass 
ihe two sections into which the plateau is thus divided are 
dissimilar. That to the east is out into ridges and ravines running 
m the same direction as the Vaniyar, that to the west is compara- 
tively massive and attains a loftier elevation. 

The eastern section comprises the mountain mass on which lies 
Talaisolai and the Mara-mangalam plateau. Between the two is 
the saddle on which the village of Kottan-chedu is situated 

The western section of the Shevaroys is divided into two " 
portions at Taylor's Saddle, which marks the watershed between 
the Vamyar and the Kadaiyam-patti Eiver, a stream which flows 
west-north-west at right angles to the Vaniyar, and whose valley 
gives access to Kadaiyam-patti Railway Station by the Attur Ghat 
ihe southern half of the western section is the irrej^ular 
plateau on which Yercaud is situated. Yercaud itself is cut off 
from a view of the plains by a circlet of hills, varying in heie-ht 

JJufl: s Hill (5,231 ;, otherwise known as Sanyasi-malai. West of 
this, a massive buttress juts out from the hill, forming a plateau of 
^om_ 2,800 to 2,900' above sea level, on which is^ituated the 
Malaiyah villages of Kondayanur and Sonappadi. 

The northern half of the western section consists of a central 
backbone, of high peaks with a plateau on either side, that of 
Nagalur to the west, and that of the Green Hills to the east 
ihe central ridge follows a line drawn from Duff's Hill paraUel 
to the Vaniyar valley, and includes the Shevarayan (5 342') 
BlanfiU (5,410'), Balamadies (5,370') and Cauvery Peak (5 086') 
At Cauvery Peak the ridge forks, the left branch runnin'>- due 
north to Pulivarai (4,567') and the right branch following the 
V aniyar valley. 

1 Lady's Seat „ 4,518'. Pagoda Point 4 507' 

Fischer's Rill .. 4,828'. The Twins Peak ... "" 4855'' 

Church Hill ... 4,813'. Prospect Point .. ' 4759'* 




III. Lower 

mslai Group. 

4. Tenande> 

The Nagalur plateau is for the most part under 4,000' in height. 
It overlooks the Veppadi valley (also parallel to the Vaniyar 
valley), up the eastern side of which climbs the trace of the 
abandoned Mallaporam Grhat. West of the Veppadi valley is 
the Yerimalai ridge (3,200'), and beyond this another valley and 
another ridge, all trending in the same direction. 

The Green Hills plateau overlooks the Vaniyar valley, towards 
which it presents some bold cliffs, the most striking being 
Hawthorne (4,899') and Honey Eocks (4,533'). Opposite the 
latter, the Vaniyar flows at a level of 2,490', though only a mile 

The Kavara-malai is an irregular group of hills, 9 miles 
long by 3 miles broad, lying between Mallapuram and Tenkarai- 
kdttai, and separated from the Shevaroys, of which it forms 
an outlier, by the Bairanattam valley. There are more than 
half a dozen separate peaks exceeding 2,500' in height, the highest 
being Kavara-malai itself, 2,994'. 

South-west of the Shevaroys is another outlier, the Nagara- 
malai, a small group of hills very bare of vegetation, and covering 
some two square miles of country. The highest point is towards 
the west (2,030'). 

Tenande-malai ^ is a term somewhat loosely applied to the hills 
between the Manjavadi Pass and the Kottai-patti-Tumbal valley. 
The total length of these hills, measured from north-east to 
south-south-west, is over 30 miles, the greatest width is about 
12 miles. This area may be divided into three natural divi- 
sions : (a) to the north, the Tirta-malai Hills ; (b) central, the 
Ohitteri plateau, and (c) the Arantittu-malais to the south. 

(a) The Tirta-malai Hills of tJttankarai Taluk are divided 
from the Chittori plateau in the latitude of Kdttai-patti by the 
east-and-west valleys of Kambuttikki and Velimadurai, and 
rise to a height of 3,220' in Tirta-malai Hill, which lies almost on 
the banks of Pennaiyar. The Tirta-malai ridge is drained on the 
east by the Kottai-patti valley, on the west by the Vaniyar. 
On the north it is cut off from the Javadis by the Pennaiyar 
and the Chengam Pass 2. Except Tirta-malai itself, the peaks 
of this ridge rarely rise above 2,500'. 

North of Tirta-malai are two groups of low outliers, covered 
by the Puvam-patti Forest Eescrvc and its Extension. The 
northern of these attains a height of 1,994,' and is in the form 

^ The chief Guru for all the Malaiyalis resides at Chitteri and is called 
Tenftude Kavundan. 

'^ Peramal-malai, north-west of Singarapet, is 2,273' ; Singarapet itself is 
about 1 J.00'. 


of a ridge rnnninf^ exactly parallel to the Vaniyar. This ridge CHAP. f. 
affords an iuterestiug object lesson in the effect of hard rook on 
the course of rivers. After crossing the railway, the Peunaiyar j£j_ lower 
flows due east ; withiu two miles of its junction with the Pambar Ghatb. 
it inclines to the north-east ; at its junction with the Pambar 
it makes an acute bend and follows the direction of the Pambar 
almost due south, pointing to the southern end of the Puvam-patti 
ridge ; at its junction with the Vaniyar it bends abruptly to the 
north-east again, following the direction of the Vaniyar and running 
parallel with the ridge, which is clearly the cause of the deflection, 
A similar deflection occurs further cast, where the Pennaiyar meets 
the stream that flows from the Kottai-patti valley. 

(b) The Chitteri plateau is a tangled mass of highland and 
ravine, which it would be tedious to describe in. detail. On. the 
west, where it overhangs Palli-patti, it rises into lofty peaks, 
the western slopes of which are very abrupt. Most of these peaks 
are nearer 4,000' than 3,000' in. height, oue due north of the little 
village of Tongaluttu rises to 3,957' and 2 miles south-west of this 
is Sami-malai (3,993'). The plateau is scattered with numbers of 
small Malaiyali villages, the chief of which, Chitteri, is over 3,000' 
above sea level. To the east the slopes are gentle and the elevation 
less, often not more than 2,000'. The villages vary in altitude 
between 2,500' and 3,000'. The general course of ridges and 
valleys is, as elsewhere, north-east and south-west. The southern 
slopes of this plateau rise to well over 3,000' where it adjoins 
Neyya-malai in Sekkadi-patti Mitta (Koppu-malai, 3,131'). 
Neyya-malai is bounded on the west by the feeders of the Vasishta- 
nadi, on the east it overhangs Tumbal. 

(c) Aranuttu-malai or " Siva's Spring Hill," is a term 
applied to the hills in Salem Taluk immediately east of the 
Manjavadi Pass. In them the Vasishta-nadi takes its rise. The 
eastern side of the Manjavadi Pass is bounded by a sharply 
defined ridge, with steep slopes, rising to nearly 4,000'. About 
a mile and a half east of this, and parallel to it, runs another 
ridge, exactly similar in appearance and general configuration. 
Between the two runs a straight valley, which is quite one of 
the most beautiful in the District. Down this valley flows the 
Vasishta-nadi in a direction north-north-east for nearly 7 
miles. Then it suddenly takes an acute bend, and flows due 
south, down the Kiri-patti valley towards Beliir. In the angle so 
formed is a large block of lofty mountains rising to 3,822', on 
which lies the small village of Pilappadi (over 3,000'). 

The Kottai-patti valley lies between the Tirta-malai ridge and The Kottai- 
the Kahayans of Kalla-kurchi Taluk, South Arcot. It is reached pattj-TnmLai 


18 SALEM. 

CHAP. I. from Tirta-malai by a road which passes through the Tirta-malai 
HiLJ-s. Eeserve, and runs as far south as Kottai-patti. The northern part 
III. Lower ^f the valley is about 4 miles wide. South of the village of Baira- 
GuATB. nayakkam-patti the valley branches in two, the westward branch 
forming the Kambutukki valley, which severs the Tirta-malai 
ridge from the Chitteri plateau, and the eastern branch continuing 
through to K!5ttai-patti. South of Kottai-patti this valley branches 
again, the eastward branch running into the Kalrayans at Avalur, 
and the main valley continuing to Chittilingi. Beyond Chittilingi 
there is a third fork, the minor valley running westward into the 
Chitteri plateau at Tadam-patti. The main valley continues via 
Velanur, Ammapalaiyam and Mamanji to Tumbal, and thouco to 
Belur. The Pass is practicable with difficulty for double bullock 
carts. The watershed is crossed between Velanur and Amma- 
palaiyam, the highest point being 1 ,486' above sea level. The 
distances from Kottai-patti (1,135') are ; Volanur, 12 miles; Amma- 
palaiyam (1,344'), 17 miles; Mamanji, 21 miles; Tumbal, 23 
miles; Belur, 31 miles; Valappadi, 36 miles. 
6. ThbKalra- The Kalrayans of Atttir Taluk measure 16 miles from north 
y*""' to 80\ith,and present to the Vellar valley a continuous front of 23 

miles from east to west. For half the latter distance, however, 
only the southern slopes are in Salem District, the main body 
of the plateau behind them being the Jadaya-Kavundan-Nad 
of South Arcot. The same remark applies to the unbroken wall 
of 1 1 miles which overlooks the Kottai-patti valley on the east, 
and forms the western boundary of the Ariya-Kavundan-Nad ; the 
slopes only are in Salem District. Even then, however, the Atttir 
Kalrayans cover more superficial area than any other block of 
hills in the District, excepting only the doab of the Kavori and 
Sanat-kumara-uadi in HosQr. 

The Attur Kalrayans arc divided in two by the valley running 
eastward from Tumbal to Papi-Nayakkam-patti. The northern 
portion is called the Chinna Kalrayans, the southern portion the 
Periya Kalrayans. 

^a) The Chinna Kalrayans form a plateau about 2,700' in 
height, the surface of which is much broken by mountains and 
ravines. On the north and east this plateau is continuous with 
the Ariya-Kavundan and Kurumba-Kavundan Nads of the 
Kalla-kurchi Kalrayans. To the west it overhangs the KSttai- 
patti -Tumbal valley. 

(b) The Periya Kalrayans form a similar plateau, which is 
cut in two by a lofty ridge. The north-west portion is called M§1- 
Nftd, the south-east portion Kil-Nad. Both those platforms are 
ooatiuuous with the South Arcot Kalrayana, 


(i) Tho Mel-Nad averages also about 2,700' in height, Its chap, i, 
chief village is Kovil-Pudur. It is most easily accessible from the Hills. 
north, where tho slopes towards tho Tnmlal valley are compara- " 
tively gentle. Towards tho south-west tho ground rises rapidly to 
tho small plateau of Peraudur (3,200') which is joined by a very 
narrow saddle (2,600') to the block of hills on which the Manntir 
Reserve is situated. Tho Mammr ridgo rises to nearly 3,475' in 
Manntlrmalai. South-west of this again is another ridgo, rising to 
2,556', and joined to tho Mannur ridge by a similar narrow saddle, 
(il) Tho Kil-Nad presents a bold front to the south. Tho 
loftiest part of tho whole range overhangs tho town of Attur, The 
loftiest peaks are Avvaiyar-malai (4,124')', Songal-malai, 2 miles 
to the north-east (4,124'), Kovil-malai, f mile from this (4,256'), 
Nagalur-malai and Kalltir-malai (4,229'). The chief village of 
this portion of the plateau is Nagalur. The most popular route 
from xVttur lies via the small Government village of Kil-Avarai. 

The southern slopes of tho Jadaya-Kavundan-Nad of South 
Arcot decline in height from 8,395' on the west, to 1,190' on the 
oxtrome east of the District, tho average height being v/ell over 

The Hills of the Talaghat include (A) the Kolli-malai Group, ly. Tvla- 
with which are associated tho Pachai-malais in the west and the ci"^t Hills. 
Boda-malais, Jerugu-malais and Ten-malais on the oast, and (B) 
a few isolated hills and ridges scattered over the four southern 

(A) The Kolli-malaia, which lie partly in Trichinopoly District, A. Ko>.ii- 
are separated from tho Pachai-malais by the Turaiyur valley and "'^^^' Gr.iap. 
the pass loading thonco to Tammam-patti, and from the Bod a- nialaia. 
malais by the Ayil-patti Ghat. They form a fine hill mass, 
measuring some 18 miles from north to south by 12 miles from 
east to west, and situated half in Namakkai and half in Attur. On 
the south, east and west they rise abruptly from the plains to a 
height of about 4,000'. The northern slopes are broken by 
ravines running en echelon in a north-oast-by-east direction, the 
chief of which are (I) Varagur-kombai, (2) Mulai-kurichi, (3) 
Periya-kombai and (4) Vala-kombai. Tho Namakkai portion of 
the hills comprises a high level plateau made up of basin-shaped 
depressions covered with terraoed cultivation, and resembliug vast 
verdure-elad amphitheatres. Tho Attiir Kolli-malaisi are rather 
different in structure. To the south-west is tho raassix'e and lofty 

' Apparently this name CDin;neii>or4tes the fauious Tamil poetess Avvaiyar 
(see Vol. ir, p. 249). 




17. Tala- 
ghIt Hills. 

2. Pachai- 

3, B6da- 

dcme of Bayil-Nad, from which the valleys already referred to 
appear to radiate. The paths which cross tho heads of these ravines 
command splendid views of tho plains and of the hills (Shevaroys, 
Tenande-malai and Kalrayans) that bound them to the north. 
The edge of the plateau to the west towers above tho plains to a 
height of over 4,000' above soa level. Tho north-west heights are 
about 400' lower. The ridges which separate the northern valleys 
are at their top 3,000'. Tho highest peak on tho Attur Kolli- 
raalais is Vetakkfira-malai (4,063').' 

The main mass of tho Pachai-malaislies in Trichinopoly District. 
The Salem portion consists of a series of valleys and ridgos radiat- 
ing to the north and east from a plateau in th(^ south-west, which 
is continuous with the Trichinopoly hills. The plateau consists 
of three areas, grouped in a triangle round iho loftiest peaks of the 
range (3,380' to 3,513'). South of this ridge lies the Pakkalam 
flat, north of it that of Mayambadi, each about 2,800' above sea 
level. Between the two, and south of the peaks r(>ft>rred to, is 
the Kotankal river, which flows due east across the third flat, that 
of Mangalam (about 2,300') and then phmges to tho plains, 
following the line of boundary between Trichinopoly and Salem 
Districts, and almost cutting the range in two. It is on accOunt 
of this valley that the plan of the Pachai-malais has been com- 
pared to an hour glass. North of this valley, and parallel to it, is 
the valley in which \'eppadi is situated, and north of this is the low 
plateau of the Gangavalli licserve. The highest point is Ammaya- 
medu (2,167') situated to the north. The general elevation is less 
than 2,000'. The northern front of the Pachai-malais is penetrated 
by the valleys of (a) Veppantattai and (6) Velur. Between the 
two is a small plateau, on which is situated the little village of 
Vedambiyam. The Velur or western valley is narrow, and about 
4 miles long. It penetrates as far as Nallamati, rising within this 
distance from 900' to 1,200'. It is flanked on the west by tho 
imposing spur of the Mau-malai, the summit of which is crowned 
with fertile fields. Tho slopes of the Pachai-malai ravines are 
clothed with thick bamboo forests. The cultivated flats are rocky 
and the soil is poor. The length of the range within Salem limite 
is about 12 miles from east to west, and its width from north to 
south not more than 8 miles. 

The Boda-malai is a lofty ridge running east and west, at a 
distance of about 9 miles south of Salem, and separating the 

* The gener&l level of the plains on the west and north is between 800' and 



Panamarattu-patti valley from Easipuj'am. Its length is 12 miles. CHAP. I, 
The maiu ridg^(> is divided iuto two masses, at a spot five miles from Hii,l8. 
its western extremity, by streams llowing north and south. The iv Tala- 
saddle between these two blocks is about 2,664' above sea level, ghat Hills 
Each block is crowned by a small plateau, 

(a) l^he western plat(>au is guarded on all sides by imposing 
precipices. Access is usually gained by a spur on the north-west, 
which descends to within two miles of Mallur. A stiff climb loads 
to the village of Melur (3,653'), tenanted by Malaiyalis from the 
KoUi-malais. The highest point on this plateau is east of the 
village (3,855'). South of this, and about 700' lower, is a second 
village (Kilur). 

(b) The eastern plateau also contains two villages, Kedda- 
malai (2,963') and Jambuttu (2,139'). At its western extremity 
is the highest point on the range, Jandakatti-medu, 4,015'. The 
precipice to the north of this is one of the finest in the District. 
On the south-east the ridge resolves itself into an irregular group 
of hills, the highest of w'hich (Periya-malai, 3,124') overhangs the 
Ayil-patti ghat leading from Easipuram to Attur. The range 
terminates on the north-east in a fine spur, the highest point of 
which is Ten-kal (2,661'). 

North of the Boda-malais are three sets of hills " en echelon ". 4. jerugu- 
The westernmost of these, blocking Salem City on the south, is Tenmaiai. 
called the Jerugu-malai. There is no regular name for the other 
two, but they are often called the Ten-malai, from the highest peak 
in the range. At the back of the whole range runs the Pana- 
marattu-patti valley, and its continuation on the Attur side. The 
valley of Jalluttu is hemmed in by a circle of heights between 
2,000' and 2,700' high, and its drainage runs through a narrow 
valley, three miles long, to the north-east. The mouth of this valley 
is guarded by the Ten-malai (2,709') on the north, and the Sakkili- 
yau-kal (2,172') on the south. There is a comparatively low 
col (about 1 ,400') leading into the Panamarattu-patti valley on 
the south and to Periya-Kavunda-puram on the north. 

The line of the Kaveri to the west of the taluks of Tiruchengodu g. isoJated 
and Omalur is marked by the barren ridge of the Sita-malai, which Wills, 
runs roughly parallel to the Kaveri for a distance of some 12 ^ajai, 
miles and rises to a height of 2,479' on the south, and 2,751' on the 
north. The ridge is covered by the Pakkanad and Vanavasi 
Keserves, and is continued to the north by the low ridges of the 
Gontir and Solappadi Reserves. The southern end of the ridge 
approaches very close to the Kaveri bank, and almost opposite to 
it, on the Coimbatore side, is the Pala-malai (4,922'). Between the 
two it is proposed to construct a dam which will create a la,ke many 




ir. Tala- 
guIt Hills. 

2. Kaiije 

3. aoda- 


square miles in extent, reaching back to Solappadi, The bank 
of the Kaveri west of the ridge is little over 600' above sea level, 
and as the eouutry east of the ridge is mnch higher (the eastern 
edge of tho Pakkauad Reserve is 1,100' above sea level), the 
contoiirs are peculiarly favourable for the scheme. 

Further south, and running roughly parallel to the course of 
the Kaveri after it passes Kumara-palaiyam, are the Suriya-malai 
(2,070'), Saukagiri (2,345'), M5rur Hill (1,643') and Tiruchengodu 

Some five miles south- west of Salem is the Kanja-malai, one of 
the most interesting hills in the District. It is a rough ridge 
running east and west, 4^ miles long and 2 miles broad. Its 
highest peak is 3,236'. The Madras Eailway runs within half a 
mile of the southern base. The geological structure is interest- 
ing, as tho rocks dip at sharp angles towards the axis of the 
mountain, which is thus a synclinal. The result of this structure, 
and of tho unevenness of the rocks, is that the slopes of the hill are 
scarred by ridges, which, at a distance, look like the ruined battle- 
ments of an ancient fort. From the top of the Shevaroys the hill, 
with its long serrated summit, looks like a gigantic saurian. Its 
rocks are full of magnetic iron. 

Between the Arauuttu-malai and Ten-malai, and just south of 
the Salem-Atttir road is the Godu-malai, a very fine bold mass, 
rising to upwards of 1,500' above the centre of tho great Salom- 
Attur valley, and forming part of the watershed between the 
basins of the Kaveri on the west, and the Vellar on the east of 
the Pass. The Godii-malai is about four miles long from west 
to cast, which is very nearly the direction of the axial ridge of 
the mass ; its extreme width at the eastern end, where broadest, 
is about three miles, including the north and south spurs of 
the hill. 

Many hills of minor importance are scattered over the Talaghat, 
such as the Paittur Hills, south-west of Attur, which mark the 
watershed between the Vasishta-nadi and Sweta-nadi; the 
Mallikarai Peak on the road from Attur to Tammam-patti ; 
and the Alavai-malai, west of Andagalur on the Salera-Namak- 
kal road. 

Eainfall is registered officially at the head-quarters of all Tahsil- 
dars and Deputy Tahsildars, and also by the Medical Officers at 
Tali, Kaja-kota, Tammam-patti, and by the Sub-llogistrar at 
Valappadi. Details of the rainfall arc given in the Separate 
Appendix. The mountainous character of the District causes 
sharp variations in the rainfall of different localities. So 


capricious arc the showers round Salom, that an inch may fall CHAP. i. 
at tho Collector's office and not a drop at the Club, Climate 

The annual averag'e from 1870 to 1 904 for Salem Town was 
39-65"^ This is hip^her than at any other recording station 
except Yercaud. Tho lowest average for the same period is at 
Tiruchengodu (27*06"j and Sankaridrug (2998"). A ttxir registers 
36" 06", Tammam-patti a little more, Tali a little less. The rest 
of the .District (except Yercaud) ranges between 31" and 33". 
Attur is the wettest taluk and Tiruchengodu tho driest '^. 

The distribution of rainfall throughout tho year is uneven. 
Eain usually sets in towards the end of April, and there is, 
normally, a heavy fall in May. During June and July, rain is 
irregular. Between August and October occurs most of tho fall 
of both monsoons. November is a very uncertain month. Dec- 
ember comparatively dry. 

At Yercaud the annual rainfall exceeds that of Salem City by Sho7aroy« 
an amount varying from 20" in a dry year to nearly 40" in a year 
of heavy rainfall. The annual fall in the north of tho Shevaroyo 
is about 10" or 12" less than that at Yercaud, and naturally, the 
south-west monsoon falls more heavily on the southern slopes, the 
north-east monsoon on the northern portion of the hills •''. 

In the hottest of the hot weather in tho hottest part of the day, Uail 
iSalem is occasionally visited by hail storms. This phenomenon 
was observed by Munro on May 17, 1795. The stones were 
" perfectly smooth and round and about tho size of small pistol 
balls " *. "^ ' 

^ The highest recorded rainfall for a whole year for iSalein was GO" 12" in 
1882, the lowest 20-76" in 1891. 

2 For detailed statistics, see Separate Appendix pp. 8-10. 

* The annual average for the ten years ending 1906 is as follows : — 

Salem 38-61" 

Scotforth ... 50-40" 

The Grange 57-01" 

Scotforth 18 nortli of Muluvi, and has a northern aspect. " The Grange " 
in to the east of Yercaud. The heaviest fall recorded at " The Grange " in a 
single day was 8" in December 18, 1884; the highest annual fall occurred in 
1890 C88-02"), the lowest in 1899 (48-23"). 

For "The Grange" statistics I am indebted to Mr. R, W. B. Gompertz, 
for those of the Scotforth to the late Mr. H. W. Leeming. 

* Gleig's '• Life", Vo!. I, p. 174. In the Madras JUail, April 9, 1904, an 
observer writes : *' The maximnm shade temperature in Salem has averaged 
99° for some weeks past and the minimum about 75°. This afternoon (8th 
instant) at 2-30 the heat was suddenly reduced by a violent hail storm accom. 
panled by tlmnder and lightning. The hail stones were large and numerous, 
many of them were half an inch in diameter. The storm is now over, but the 
thermometer registers over 80° ". 




The average tempen 

itnre for a series 














79- (5 


























91-3 . 









08 fi 











8alem Town ^ and re- 
ported by the Metooro- 
logical office, Madras, is 
shown in the margin. 
The hot weather begins 
early in March, reaches 
its worst in April and 
May, and from Jnne 
onwards steadily de- 
clines. The highest 
recorded temperature 
for the 16 years ending 
1 905 was 108"^ (May 9, 
1900), the lowest 55'2° 
(Janiiary 30, 1902). 
The average maximum is higher in February than in July, but 
the nights are much cooler. The difference between maximum 
and minimum in February is over 28'','^ in October and November 
it is less than 1 9°. 0>^ing to the stillness of the atmosphere in 
September and October, the temperature is more trying then than 
in February or early March, though the maximum is higher in the 
latter months. 

The dryness of the atmosphere, the comparatively cool nights, 
and the drop in temperature from June onwards when the south- 
west monsoon bursts on the West Coast, render the climate of 
Salem pleasanter than that of the eastern and southern districts. 

No official record is kept of the Meteorology of the Shevaroys. 
The temperature is most equable. A series of thermometer 
readings registered in a first-floor room at " The Grange " at 6 a.m., 
noon, 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. and extending over a period of 24 years, 
shows a maximum of 82° (on May 2'i, 1906) and a minimum of 
60^° ; thus the difforonoo, in doors, botwoou the hottest part of the 
hottest day and the coldest part of the coldest night, over a period 
of nearly a quarter of a century, is only 21^°. In any one year 
the variation between the highest and lowest recorded tempera- 
ture has never exceeded 17°. It is very rare that the temperature 
rises above 80°. In fact, the hot weather midday temperature 
does not often exceed 77° (April and May), and in December the 

^ Tamperature is recorded in the compound of the Collector's Office. The 
anemometer is fixed on the roof of that building. 

* In Cuddaloro the difFerence in February between maximum and minimum 
is 16"5 and in Taniore it is only 12'3. The contrast is striking:. 



ooity of 



in miles. 


















































usual roadinp^ is 67°, occasionally siiikiufj^ to 64°. It freqnontly CHAP.I 

happous that tho four roadiugs ou a siiiglo day show no variation at Tkmi-kka. 

all. Of course in tho open air the maximum is greater^ and on turk. 

tho grass in tho valleys, frost is not unknown, tho thermometer 

sinking to 31° or oven 30° ^. 

The oouneotion between wind and rainfall is striking. The Wixn, 

averages for Salem Town are 
shown side by side in the 
margin. The heaviest falls 
of rain occur in the months 
when the wind is weakest. 
The rain stops as soon as the 
wind freshens. From Octo- 
ber to March a north-easterly 
wind prevails. In April the 
wind veers towards tho south 
and from May to September 
the general direction is south- 
east or south-west. Tho 
The year ... 101 39-65 windiest months arc February 

and March. In April the 

wind is a little less strong. There is a marked drop in velocity 

in May, and a sharp rise in June. From July it slackens, month 

by month, till October, which is the calmest month of the year. It 

then once more begins to freshen. 

The geological structure of Salem District is (so far as it is GEOLoer. 

known ^) very simple : — 

(a) By far tho larger part is made up of rocks belonging to 

the great metamorphic or gneissic series of Southern India, the 

Archaean Series. 

{f)) Intrusive in these are (1) the older Charnockite Series 

and (2) younger igneous intrusions, of which the Basic Trap Dykes 

^ Dr. Sbortt (Hill Banges, part II, page 10) says, '* The hottest months are 
March, April and May, when the thermometer attains 87° in the shade during 
the day." 

2 For the above information I am indebted to R. W. B. Gompertz, Esq. 

^ The only portion of the District which has been surveyed in detail by the 
Geological Survey of India is the rirea included in sheet 78 of the Indian Atlas, 
the results of the survey being embodied in volume IV of the Memoirs. The 
immediate environs of Salem have been treated by Sir T. Holland in Memoirs 
G.S.I., XXX, pp. 103-168 and the corundum deposits by Mr. G. S. Middlemissin 
Records G.S.I. , XXX, pp. 118-122 and X XIX, part 2, pp. 39-50. Mr. Middlemiss 
has also contributed notes on the Chalk Hills in pp. 32-33 of the same volume. 
Lastly, the extension of the Kolar Gold Fields schist belt into the western part 
of Krishnagiri Taluk has been described by Mr. Bosworth Smith. 

26 salem. 

CHAP. T. and the Magnesian Series of the Chalk Hills arc the most couspi- 
Geology. criOTi3 features. 

The remaining part is occnpied by a few unimportant 
sabaerial deposits and the alluvia of the different rivers which arc 
also very little noteworthy ; simple thoiigh the geological 
features of the District are, they are of much greater interest than 
is generally the case in mainly metamorphic regions. 
A.— The The Archaean Rocks, so called from their petrological rosom- 

Arohsean blancc to the oldest gneisses and schists of Europe and America, 
may be roughly classed as (1) granitcj, (2) gneisses and (3; 
schists. But the relation between the several members of the 
series has yet to be determined. 

The older theory, that of Captain Newbold, regards the schists 
as the oldest rooks of the series, the schistose rocks being at a later 
age broken up by granitic intrusions. 

The later theory, that of Mr. R. Bruce Foote, regards the 
granites ind gneisses as fundamental, the schists being deposited 
over them and included in the Dharwar System, a transitional 
system, younger than the gneisses, and older than the Cuddapah 
System, which represents the older palteozoio age. 

Captain Newbold, who passed through the District in 1841, 
regarded the greater portion of Southern India as occupied by two 
great series of rocks, viz. : — (1) a metamorphic series, which ho 
termed hypogeno schists, (2) and a series of plutonic granites, 
which he regarded as having penetrated and broken up the 
hypogene schists. This view is strongly combated by Mr. l^ruoe 
Foote, who writes,^ " There can be no doubt that such eruptive 
action of granite never took place on a large scale, and that the vast 
area of granitoidal rock now scon was really the old foundation on 
which the gneisses, and after them the Dharwar rocks, were quietly 

Mr. Bruoe Foote has accordingly divided the Archcoan Series 
into — 

(a) Granitoids, which ho regards as being the oldest rocks, 
and correlates with the Bandolldmnd Gneiss of Central India 

(6) Gneisses, which he regards as metamorphosed sedi- 
mentary rocks, younger than the granitoids, and older than the 
Dharwar Schists. Ncwbold's " hypogene schists " thus include 
both the gneisses of Mr. Bruce Footc's Division (6), and the 
Dharwar Schists. 

Mr. Bruce Footc's opinion can hardly be accepted as final, as 
more recent work in Mysore points clearly to a return to the older 

> Pajfe 28 (Bellary Memoir), Mem. G.8.I., XXV. 




Tlio Kolur 
Schist Band. 

views of Nowbold, viz., that lar^c irniptivc masses of granite do 
exist, which hav(> brokcMi up and poiiotratod the older p^ncissos and 
schists. A p^ood deal of evidonco has been adduced by the Mysore 
Gcolog^ical Department to show that the Dharwar Series of schists 
is largely of igneous origin, and is the oldest formation ; that 
these schists have been intruded and broken up by a very exten- 
sive series of granitic gneisses, corresponding to the fundamental 
granitoid gneiss of Mr. Bruce Footo, and that both have bee a 
intruded by largo masses of granite and by the rocks of the 
Charnockite Series.' 

Space forbids any detailed technical description of the Archrean 
Rocks of the District. A list of references dealing with the 
District is given in the Appendix to this Chapter. 

A band of the gold-bearing rocks of the Kolar Gold Fields has 
been traced by Mr. P. Bosworth Smith as far as Malappa-konda 
Hill, the trijunotion of Salem and Chittoor Districts with Mysore 
State. Here it splits into two. " The easterly branch may be seen 
keeping about three-quarters of a mile broad and running straight 
down south. It rises in the hills that fringe the Maharaja-gadai 
valley on the western side, and runs south to a point opposite the 
village of Maharaja-gadai, and there it seems to die out." ^ 

The westerly branch starts out to the west of Malappa-konda 
and, " standing out conspicuously in a small line of hills, turns 
round south again through Ada-konda, thus forming the main 
portion of the hills that border the western side of the Yeppana- 
palli valley. The band seems to end with the line of hills which 
drop away by Tattattarai." 

Several thin bands of schist have been traced east of Krishnagiri, 
but their relation to the main bands has not yet been made out. 

Much of the District is covered by a very interesting series of (0 'i'he 
igneous rocks which are now recognised as the " Charnockite 
Series."^ For instance, the whole mass of the Shevaroy Hills 
belongs to this series. The Charnockite Eocks are apparently 


* For the above I am indebted to Dr. VV. F. Smeetb, State Geologist, Mysore. 
Further information in this interesting controversy is to be found in — 

(1) Beport of the Chief Inspector of Mines for the year 1899, appendix, 
pages i to xii (Mysore Geological Department), Madras, 1901. 

(2) Records, Volume 111, Mysore Geological Lepartmont. 

(3) Bulletin No. 3, Mysore Geological Department. 

The Occurrence of Secondary Augite in the Kolar Schists, by W. F. Smeetb, 
M.A., D.Sc, Bangalore, 1905. 

2 Report on Kolar Odd Fields, 1889, p. 11, sq. 

' For a general description of the whole group see Memoir Geological Survey 
of India, 7ol. XXVIII, part 2, p. 119 sq. The term used for this group of 
rocks in Germany is " pyroxene grannlites ", in France " pyroxene gneisses " ; 
Messrs. King aud Bruce Footo refer to them as " syenitoid gneisses." 




(2) Vonnger 



(a) Ba^ic 




intrusive in relation to both the schists and biotite gneisses abeady 
referred to, and are therefore considered to be of younger age.^ 

The rocks exposed in the neighbourhood of Salem inchide a 
fairly complete list of the known varieties of the Oharnockite 
Series, gametiferous and non-garnotiferous. Those whose compo- 
sition is intermediate between the acid and basic extremes are by 
far the most abundant, and are typically represented in the She- 
raroy masses, where they are as a rule non-garnetiferous. Basic 
varieties, however, occur as small autoliths in the more prevalent 
type of the Scries, and also form separate and comparatively large 
masses of roiighly lenticular shape in the old biotite gneisses. 

The distinctly igneous intrusions of Salem District form three 
groups : — 

(a) Basic Dykes. 

(6) The Magnesiau Series of the " Chalk Hills." 

(c) The "White Elephant Kocks " of the Shevaroy Hills. 

(a) Although not very numerous, several of these are of suffi- 
cient size and importance to form outsti,uding features of the parts 
of the District where they occur. " The intrusions are of very 
ancient date, and probftbly connected with the volcanic outbursts 
of the Cuddapah System," long subsequent, of course, to the 
crushing of the gneiss. 

The largest exposures of th(^3c intrusive dykes are met with 
in the Baramahal and in Attur Taluk. 

(h) The name "Chalk Hills " is given to a barren tract of 
slightlv hilly ground, north and north-west of Salem Town. Over 
a groat part of this tract the surface is whitened by small veins of 
magnesito, the white colour of which explains the name.- The 
tract covers some twelve square milosj in two areas, stretching 
from a little west of the Railway, a couple of miles north-west of 
Sura-mangalam Station, north-eastward to the western foot of the 
Shevaroys. The northern area is roughly leg-of-mutton-shaped 
in plan, with the broad end abutting on the spurs of the 
Shevaroys, and much obscured by low jungle. The southern and 
smaller area is composed of a series of low hills, the highest of 
which are about 50' above the plains. 

' Sir Thomas EloDand, who has devoted innoh time to the obRervation of these 
rocks, considers that tho Charnockite Series in the vicinity of Salem, tiiough 
younger than the biotite gneisses of the sjime area, is not necessarily younger 
than other biotite gneisses in the District. A long junction lino which exists 
between the pyroxene-granulites and the biotite gneisses of the Biinimahiil, will 
probably afford valuable evidence of the general relations of the two series of 
rocks, when opportunity for investigation presents itself. 

- According to Hindu tradition, these deposits are the bones of Jatayn, 
the eagle king, which attempted to rescue Situ when she was carried otf by 
R&vana, but was slain by the latter. 



" Associated with the maj^ucsite arc mirnite veins of baltimorite CHA.P. r. 
or fibrous serpentine, p^enerally of pale green colonr, but, here and Geomgy. 
there, the larjjfcst of these veins (never exceeding 6" in thickness) 
show pieces of a rich bluish green. ^ Weathered and water worn 
pieces often show rich tints of yellow, brown, red and purple, but 
on the outside only. Of compact serpentine only very small 
fragments were found in one or two nullahs as pebbles." A 
yellow wax-like variety of serpentine known as retinalito has 
also been found. '• Thiu coatings of chalcedony not unfrequently 
cover the surface of tho maguesite, or penetrate the mass of it ; the 
chalcedony itself is frequently covered with a layer of minute 
crystals of quartz." 

Maguesite also occurs in smaller masses, but under very similar 
conditions, at Isvara-raalai and Singapuram in Attur Taluk, and 
near the Kauja-malai. 

Tho maguesite of tho " Chalk Hills " was probably formed 
by the action of carbonic acid at high temperatures on eruptive 
peridotites.- Tho predominant typo of peridotito is oli vine-rock 
containing, like tho similar duuitc of New Zealand, quantities of 
magnetite and chromitc, with sometimes enstatito. Secondary 
alteration of the peridotites has resulted in the formation of 
magncsito, chalcedony, serpentine and tale. The action of carbonic 
acid gas in large quantities and at high pressure on the unstable 
silicate of magnesia (olivine) would produce carbonate of magnesia 
and free silica. Most, if not all, of the peridotite eruptions of 
South India are accompanied by masses and veins of pure white 
quartz containing considerable quantities of carbonic acid gas, 
and the constancy of this association suggests a genetic relation- 
ship. The picrolite is probably tho result of hydration of the 
olivine by subterranean water accompanying the carbonic acid 
and included in the original magma. The serpentine is duo to 
the hydration, possibly by siibaorial agencies, of portions of the 
olivine which escaped the action of the carbonic acid. The forma- 
tion of these three minerals is duo to entirely different processes ; 
the maguesite came first, tho serpentine last. 

Two masses of white quartz are exposed, one on either side of (o) The 

the Gundur spur of the Shevaroys. 

This quartz is presumably of White Ele- 

phnnt Rock. 

^ Mr. Comber writes, '" 1 have fonnd weathered and waterworn pieces of 
baltimorite ranging liooi aluiost white to dark bhie. Fracture shows the same 
colour. Pieces of apparently massive seipentine are found in the northern 
area, but many show traces of an apparently fibrous sti uoture." 

- Messrs. King and Bruce Foote inferred that the original rock of the 
Chalk Hills yrerO metamorpbic. Sir T. Holland, however, in 1892 proved that the 
primary rocks were periodtites (XXIV) (of. Beco;ds, Qeological Survey of 
India, XXIX, p. 36). 







plutouic origin ; thoro arc no sig^ua of the clastic structure 
distinctive of a qnartzitc, and no rofj^ular arraup^omont of crystals 
characteristic of infiltrated voin quartz. The quartz is sometimes 
colourless and transpai'ont, but usually white, owing to innumer- 
able cavities containing liquid carbonic acid. At the base of the 
quartz mass which lies oast of the spur, large masses of crystalline 
calcite occur in close association with the quartz. 

Two forms of subaorial rocks are developed commonly, though 
not extensively, in the District, viz., the calcareous tufa popularly 
known as '* kankar " (or " kunkur ""), and (2) the psoudo-laterite 
found on the summit of the Shevarayan and other mountains. 
The former is formed by the decomposition of lime-holding rocks 
by rain-water, which deposits the lime, when evaporating, at or 
very near the surface. The latter is a ferruginous clay incrusta- 
tion formed on the surface of ferruginous rocks weathering in a 
damp atmosphere. In the same category should bo placed the 
local aggregations, loose or compacted, of clayey haematite 
pellets often found in, or underlying, highly ferruginous rooks. 

True poat forms largely on the Shevaroy Hills at elevations of 
over 4,000 feet.^ 

The soils of the District depend on its geology. The classifi- 
cation of soils by the (Settlement Department is not a s.atisfactory 
guide to their nature, first because the system of classification is 
unscientific, secondly because it leaves out of account all except 
ryotwari areas. Only two 2 classes of soil were recognised at the 
origlual Settlement, namely, " red " and " black. " White sands 
and saline and calcareous soils were classed as " red '' or " black " 
according to the classifier's caprice '. The pcrceatages under each 
series recognised at the original Sottlemont for the seven old taluks 
oomprised in the District as now re-organized are as follows : — 









































» Mem., O.S.I., XU, p. 252. 

' Except for a small area classed as " Improved." 
' These inconsistencies do not l)y any means involve anomalies in assessment. 
Settlement ciassification is invariably adjusted to the merits of the soil, and 
sterile sands or saline tracts are usually treated as " worst sort " and assessed 
*t i,he lowest rate» prevailing in the villa<?e in which thay oocQr, 


A few remarkablo deposits of true black soil occur in the CHAP. I 
south of the Baramahal, and in the Biilaghfit. 1 ho best known Geology. 
arc (1) near Dharmapuri and Adaman-kofctai in Dharmapuri 
Taluk, (2) cast of the Vattala-malai, round Kadatttir, (3) in the 
Vfl-niyar valley, (4) in the Kottai-patti valley, tjttankarai Taluk. 
The geological origin of these black soils is still a moot point- 

The iron ores^ of Saloni District arc well nigh inexhaustible. Mixkrai, 
By far the most abundant ore is magnetite. This mineral occurs in Roi^ts. 
well-dofiuod octahedral crystals, embedded in chlorite schist, in OreHoflron. 
comparatively small quantities, but magnetite also occurs, associated 
with quartz, and forming a schist, in which the crystals of magne- 
tite are crushed out in the direction of foliation to a roughly 
almond-shape. All gradations in size are found, down to an almost 
aphanitic rock, in which the constituent minerals are, to the naked 
eye, indistinguishable as individual crystals — a typo common to 
all the groups of iron beds. " The incipient expansion of the 
mass, accompanying the oxidation and hydration of the magnetite, 
has, in many places, been sufficient to produce a rock that crum- 
bles under the slightest blow, or even between the fingers. These 
are the pieces exclusively used by the native smelters on account of 
their friable nature. They are invariably found in the talus at 
the foot of the hills, and probably are simply the more weathered 
representatives of the compact specimens occurring in the beds 
above. A further form in which magnetite occurs in the District 
is that of segregation from the main mass of the rock into cavities 
and pockets, as innumerable small crystals. Magnetite occurs 
also, together with small crystallised fragments of quartz, horn- 
blende, garnets and other minerals, as sand in river-beds, being 
derived from the disintegration of the numerous crystalline rocks 
within the area. In the trappean rocks, in granites, and in the 
more basic gneisses, magnetite occurs in disseminated grains, but 
not in quantities sufficient for economic use. In almost any locality 
in the south of Salem District a magnet dipped into a bed of river 
sand becomes coated with large quantities of magnetic grains," 

Haematite is seldom found in large crystals in Salem District. 
In the hills to the south of Namagiripet, small crystals of specular 
iron occur in larger masses of crypto -crystalline haematite, forming, 
with quartz, a schist bedded in conformity tothe adjacent magne- 
tite-bearing seams. Frequently both magnetite and haematite are 
found intermixed with quartz, and in some cases magnetite cores 
have been noticed, surrounded by haematite to varying degrees — 

^ The acoonnt of iron ores whioh follow is taken almost entirely from 
Sir Thomas Holland's Preliminary Report on the Iron-ores and Iron-industries 
of the Ss^len; District, Hecords of Geological Survey, Vol. XXV, p. 135 sq. 

32 SALEM. 

CHAP. I. producing, iu fact, miuute crystals of martite, which is probably, 
Mineral in most cases, pseudomorphoiis after the magnetic oxide. Hccraa- 
Peodccts, ^-^.g |g quite subordinate in importance to magnetite in Salem 

Under the action of atmospheric influences, haematite takes up 
water and passes into turgito, and ultimately into gothito and 
limonite, or brown hrematite. Those may bo carbonated to prodiice 
the various forma of clay-ironstone and chalybite. Varioiis stages 
of these processes are represented amongst the Salom iron- ores, 
especially the prodiiction of small quantities of yoUow ochro by 
oxidation and hydration of the magnetite. But none of these 
ores occur in sufficient quantities to be of value for metallurgical 
purposes in comparison to the magnetite and ha3matite. 

Pyrites is conspicuously rare in the rocks of the District. 
Finely disseminated grains occur scattered through some of the 
intrusive igneous rocks, but not in large quantities. 

Small crystals of titaniferous iron-ore have been found in some 
of the eruptive rocks of Salem, but never in large quantities, 
Pyrrhotiiie, or magnetic pyrites, occurs in small quantities, as 
minute hexagonal prisms ; it is of no motallurgieal value. 

Ferruginous clays, limonitic pellets, ferruginous sands, and 
laterito frequently occur in different parts of the District ; but these 
iron-bearing deposits, although in some places valuable as sources 
of the metal, and for building and other purposes, are developed 
on a small scale in Salom District, when compared with the 
enormous deposits of richer iron oxide. 
The Mutpieiic "The magnetic iron beds," writes Mr. 11. Bruce Foote, "are 
the most remarkable and interesting of all the gneissio rooks in 
Salem District, on account of their economic value, and forming, 
as they do, in many places very striking natural features of the 
ooimtry, and affording the geologist who is endeavouring to unravel 
the structure of the metamorphic region greater assistance than do 
the members of any of the other groups." The iron ore occurs 
not in lodes, but iu regular bedded masses of banded iron ore and 
quartz, associated with the gneiss. ^ 

The five principal groups of magnetic iron bods are those of 
(1) Konja-malai, (2) Godu-maloi, (3) Singapuram, (4) Kolli- 
malai, (5) Tirta-malai. Eicb beds occur also at Malli-karai, and 
on the south flank of the Paittur Hills in Attur Taluk, and close 
to the southern base of Kedda-malai in Salem Taluk. 

Iron beds. 

* The ore, even that of the highest qnality, appears extremely siliceoue, 
but as the crystals of magnetic iron and of silica are distinct compoiioiits of the 
ore mass, it would lend itself to magnetic concentration, which would be neces- 
sary if iron working ou a large scale were attempted. 



For some years a London Syndicate has been opening up 
the deposits of raagnesite at the Chalk Hills, and there is every 
prospect of a paying industry being in time established. The 
maguesito is of very high grade, and its products compare favour- 
ably with those of other localities. Lightly calcined, the magnesite 
can be used for plaster, tiles, artificial stone, boiler coverings, etc. 
** Dead burnt, " i.e., submitted to a much higher temperature, it is 
one of the most refractory materials known, and is useful for fire- 
bricks, the lining of steel furnaces and other purposes. 

Chromito is to bo found in the northern area of the Chalk Hills, 
and also on the Kanja-malai. In the former locality it was worked 
by the Porto Novo Company till about 1860. 

Corundum occurs at Kuttarapundi, south-east of Tiruchengodu 
Talak, and in four areas in Dharmapuri Taluk, viz., (1) Pappara* 
patti, (2) Rangapuram, (8) near Eaya-k5ta, (4) on the Dharma- 
puri-Morappur road.^ 

Gold was at one time worked near Veppana-palli, and it is 
not known when the working ceased.^ 

Mica was worked about 1897 near Edappadi and Arasiramani 
in TiruohengSdu Taluk, but the stuff was poor in quality, and of 
no commercial value, and the digging was soon abandoned. 

Steatite, an impure hard talc, occurs in the gneissie rocks in 
several localities in the District, notably on the Isvara-malai, south 
of the Ayilpatti-Mallikarai road in Attur Taluk, and in Omalur 
Taluk, north-east of the Tara-mangalam-Nangavalli road. It is 
used for the manufacture of culinary vessels, for which the material 
is specially suitable, owing to its power of resisting the action of fire. 

Kankar supplies most of the lime used in the District. The 
quality of the lime produced from it is excellent, and kankar 
lime is exported in considerable quantities to the Kolar Grold 
Fields. Stone suitable for building purposes is abundant all 
over the District. Fuller's earth is an item of importance in 
Tirucheng5du Taluk, whence it is exported to Calicut. 

No systematic survey has yet been made of the Flora of Salem 
District, and it is therefore impossible to describe its distinctive 
features.^ A few words, however, on the ferns of the Shevaroys 
may be of interest. 

Near Yeroaud every wall is clothed with the Geranium Fern 
(PelicBa (jeraiiiwfoUa)^ the heart-shaped Hemionitis cordata, the 






Kankar, etc, 



^ These have been described in detail by Mr. C. S. Middlemiss, in Records 
G.S.L, XXXIX and XXX. 

* See note on the Kolar Schist Band, p. 27 supra, and the reference quoted in 
the footnote, 

^ An account of the chief Forest products is given in Chapter 7. 








Pony- breed- 

FJanuel Fern {Niphohohis fissum) and Asplenium furcaiwn ; the 
undergrowth of copses* is brightened with the pale green fronds 
of Nephrolepis cordi/olia, and open spaces are covered with the 
common Bracken (Pten's aquilina). Other common species are 
the Lace Fern [Stenoloma chtnensis)^ DavaUia tenutfoUn, the 
Silver Fern {Chethnihes farinosa), the Royal Fern (Osmuuda 
regaUs\ the Oak Fern [Drynaria quercifoUa), the Edible Fern 
(Lasirea aristata), Pieris quadri aun'to and Gymnopteris Feet. In 
shady ravines, where running water flows, Tree Ferns {Ahophila 
latebrosa) are not uncommon, and, on the lower slopes, the Maiden- 
hair Fern (Adiantiim caudaium) and Palm Fern (Actimopter/s 
dicliotoma) are abundant. Tbe Golden Fern {Gymnociramme 
sulphurea), a Himalayan species, has become naturalised on the 
Shevaroys. Among tbe rarer forms, Angiopteris eveefa, Lygodium 
mtcrophyllum^ and Micro lepia platyphylla are to bo met with, and, 
on the slopes of the Shevamyan, Lt'ndsaya heterophyllii has been 
foimd, a species occurring elsewhere only on the Tinnevclly Hills. 
A very pretty fern, ClieiUmthes mysorenais, is to be found all over 
the District at comparatively low elevations, such as the Paittiir 
Hills, the Baramahal Durgams, at Barur and throughout Hosiir 
Taluk \ 

Salem is one of the chief cattle-breeding districts in the Presi- 
dency. The chief breeds are three, namely, the Mysore, the 
Alambadi and the Tiruchcngodu. The first is bred in the forests 
bordering on the Kaveri in the Denkani-kota Division, the second 
in those round Pennagaram. The Mysore breed is of larger frame 
than that of Alambadi, but shorter in the log. The males of both 
these breeds are in much demand for draught, and command good 
prices in the great cattle fairs of the southern districts, never less 
than Es. 100 a pair, a good pair of trotters selling for as much as 
Re. 400. The Tiruchcngodu breed is of diminutive size, the cows 
are excellent milkers. The use of cows for ploughing and for 
baling water is not uncommon in the Talaghat. 

In the northern portion of the District the breeding of 
country ponies is of great antiquity, and dealers from Madura 
still resort to Denkani-kota and Pennagaram for thoir purchase. 
A full grown ^' tat " of four years or so will fetch from Rs, 25 
to 30. 

Efforts have been made by Government from time to time to 
improve the quality of the breed, but without much success. 
Attempts to encourage mule-breeding have also failed. 

* For the list of Ferns I am in'Jebted to Miss H. Lechler of Yercaud. 


The breeding of sheep and goats appears to be on the increase CHAP. i. 
in spite of Forest Eescrvation.' Faun.v. 

Elephants are no longer found in the District, except ^ in t}»e gheop and 
jungles along the Kaveri, and on the Melagiri hills. A small (Joats. 
herd not uncommonly crosses the river from the Coimbatore side Big 6ame» 
in March or April, and remains for about a month. In 1901 a ^ '^P *" ^ 
herd of five penetrated to within 4 miles from Denkani-kota. The 
Kalrayans were once called the " Elephant Hills," and in 1882 a 
pair of elephants with a calf found their way from the Kalla- 
kurchi Taluk of South Arcot, penetrated the Javadis as far as 
Mottur, and thence crossed the valley and ascended the Yela-giris. 
They then returned via Singarapet. Shortly afterwards the bull 
was shot by two European officers. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, tigers infested Tigers. 
nearly all the forests of the District. They are now very rare and 
occur only in the jungles round Denkani-kota, straying occa- 
sionally into the limits of Dhannapuri Taluk. On the Javadis 
the last tiger is said to have been shot in 1892. 

Panthers, leopards, jungle-cat, civet-cat and other Felidce are other 
found all over the District. In villages such as Eaya-k5ta, Uddana- ^'^*^'^' 
palli, Sulagiri, situated at the foot of rocky kopjes, a panther may 
occasionally bo seen in the day time, basking in the sun. One 
bold beast took up his abode in the bath-room of the D.P.W. 
bungalow at Barur. It is not unusual for panthers to enter the 
compounds of ^houses at Yeroaud, and in 1907 a pet watch-dog 
was carried off by one. 

Rewards to the extent of Es. 7,830 were disbursed by Govern- Rewards. 
ment during the ten years ending 1905 for the destruction of wild 
animals. About 45 panther skins are brought in annually for 
reward. A tiger-skin was presented for reward at Hosur in 1896, 
another in 190(5, and another in 1909. It is said that only about 
one in every fifty kills is reported to the authorities. Most of the 
tio-ers and panthers killed are shot in reserved forests, and the 
shikaris that shoot them are generally reluctant to claim a reward 
for fear of being taxed with the oiience of shooting in a reserve 
without a license. 

1 F. 1281 (1871-2) 44,225; F. ]280 (1876-7) 577,373; F. 1291 (1881-2) 
(;66,171; F- 1309 (1889-1900) 1,225,423; F. 1319 (1909-10) 1,210,732: the 
last figure excludes stati^itics fo:- Namakkal aaii Tiruppaltur. 

* Major M. Bevan, writing in the early part of the nineteenth ceniury, speaks 
of elephants committing great havoc among the gardens round Raya-kota. 
Thirty Years in India, Vol. I, p. 65. 

3 For the note on Game I am indebted to the Hon. Mr. Justice C. G. Spencer, 





Bi^ Game. 

The common Indian sloth bear occurs tbroughout the District 
in hillv tracts. Among the best known localities are the Kolli- 
malais, the Javadis, the Shevaroys, the Chitteris, the jungles near 
Yeppana-palli and the Kundu-kota hills. Native shikaris will 
never shoot bears, believing them to descend from Jambavan, the 
Bear King, who helped Eama in his invasion of Ceylon. Bison 
or gaur were formerly common, but were almost exterminated at 
the time of the Great Famine. Small herds of three or four are 
still to be found in the deepest recesses of the Dcnkani-kota, 
Dharmapuri and tJttankarai jungles. Nilgai or blue bull is very 
oocasionally met within the jungles of Dharmapuri and Denkani- 
kota which adjoin the Kavori. Sarabur occur in the jungles of 
Hosur, Dharmapuri, Uttankarai and at the foot of the Shevaroys, 
but not in large numbers. The best place to find them is on the 
banks of the Kaveri near Ilogona-kal and Bilignndlu, especially in 
the months of March and April, when all jungle streams and pools 
are dry, and animals are driven by thirst to the Kaveri. The 
covert is too thick for successful stalking, and the only way to 
secure a bag is to beat the jungle. Blaok buck can bo foinid all 
over the District. They frequent the open country and are never 
found in thick jungle. In the Talaghat they may be had at the 
foot of the Kolli-malais. But their principal habitats are round 
Hosur, Denkani-kota, Matagonda-palli, Tali, BOrikai and Atti- 
mugam, all in Hosiir Taluk.^ Within a radius of six miles of 
Hosi'ir there are a dozen herds. Thoy arc very shy and cautious ; 
once disturbed, they never stop within five miles. Spotted deer 
(chetal) and barking deer are met with throughout the Bararaa- 
hal. The best localities for the former are near Javulagiri, 
Hogena-kal, and in the reserved forests of Kottai-patti, Mallapuram 
and Haiiir. Mouse deer, known in the vernacular as the '' goat 
footed hare/' is not unknown, especially in the Javadis. It is 
caught in nets and easily tamed. 

Big game is fast disappearing in the District. Sambur, bison 
and spotted deer in particular are in danger of extirpation. 
What with native shikaris and wild dogs killing everything, 
whether stag, hind or young, the wonder is that any are found. 
A good deal of illicit shooting goes on in the jungles between 

^ Mr. J. D. Kamasabbier writes, " at Onnalavadi, 4 miles from Hosftr on the 
Uddana-palli road ; on thnhigh ground, near Paranda-palli on tho Hosur-Sulagiri 
road; near Nail ur on the Hosui-Malur road; at about the 4th mile on the 
Bangalore road ; on the high ground near Aggonda-halli on the Kela-mangalam 
road, they are always found; as also near Binr.a-mangalam, 3 miles fi-om Matta- 
gonda^palli, near Tali on the Maru-palli high ground, and at Jaghir Karu-palli, 
4 miles from DenUani-kOta." 


Ponnagaram and Denkani-kota. '* Hogeaa-kal especially is the chap. I. 
resort of a number of shikaris from Dharmapuri and Pennagaram. Fauna. 
Tho banks of the Kavori at this spot aro generally liaed with 
machans from which deer that come to drink in tho river are shot 
at night. On a moonlight night each of these machans will have 
its tenant." For tho European big game is not easy to bag, for 
want of efficient beaters. Moreover, covert is unlimited and unin- 
terrupted, and hence the game is difficult to locate. 

Wild pigs abound wherever there are jungles, and are very Other 
destructive to crops. Thej are shot in large numbers by villagers, ^^ammals. 
Good sport can be had by camping at Mallur and working the 
jungles round the foot of the Boda-malais. 

The common monkey is a regular pest, especially round Salem 
and Hostir. Fruit growers are put to much trouble in warding 
o£f their depredations. The Madras Langtir [Preshytts priamus) is Madras 
found in tho jungles near AncLetti, and in Dharmapuri Taluk, Ipre^^Z]^ 
and is much sought after, its flesh being eaten by natives on priumus). 
account of its supposed medicinal virtues. It is especially common 
on Mauukouda-malai near Toppur. The nocturnal Lon's lydeliker- 
ianus is also not uncommon. 

Hyenas, wolves, red dog, jackals and foxes are found every- 
where. It is commonly believed that, if a goat or sheep is pulled 
down by a wolf, the flock will thrive. Another belief is that a 
man who kills a wild dog will soon die. Hence wolves and wild 
dogs are never killed by native shikaris. In the days when Mr. 
(now Sir Frederick) Price was Sub-Collector, a pack of hounds 
was kept up at Hosur, and foxes and jackals afiorded good 

Otters are common in the Kaveri, especially above Hogena-kal 
Falls, and may often be seen swimming down-stream, 30 or 40 in 
a pack. During flood-timo they infest the creeks and inlets along 
the Kaveri banks. Hares, hedgehogs, porcupines, the mongoose 
and the pangolin may be met with all over the District. 

Though not a famous shooting District, Salem at least provides SmaJi Gamp, 
what is dear to the heart of every true sportsman, — a " mixed 
bag.''' The number of small tanks in the District, especially in 
the northern taluks, is legion. These tanks are visited in the cold 
season by numbers of teal and duck, and the latter, owing to the 
coolness of the Mysore plateau and the Baramahal, seem to defer 
their migration till later than is the case in other plain districts. 
Most of these tanks are not so big as to render the duck inacces- 
sible. Besides duck and teal of all varieties in the tanks, tho 
wet lands irrigated by the tanks and on the foreshore frequently 

38 SALEM. 

CHAP. I. contain a fair sprinkling of snipe. In the drv fields that must be 
Faiixa. crossed to reach the tank, a quail is seen, now and again, to bustle 
out of a field of gram, or from a tuft of grass on the field margin. 
On the stretches of uncultivated, and often rocky, uplands lying 
between the villages, partridges, sand-grouse, plover, oeeasionallj 
a hare or two, and sometimes florican are to be found. The 
bushes lying along dry water-courses afford a shelter to 
which they betake themselves at the first alarm. Bustards may 
be seen in pairs along the Kaveri bauks when the water is low. 
Woodcock visit the higher hill i-anges in small numbers in the 
cold weather. Green and blue pigeon, pea-fowl, spur-fowl and 
jungle-fowl may be added to the list. In short, most of the 
feathered species characteristic of South India are met with in the 
Snakes. Snakes are represented by no less than 48 species.^ None of 

these are peculiar to the District, but Lachesis macrolepis has 
hitherto been recorded only from the Aua-malais, Pahiis and 
Shevaroys ; possibly it occurs on the Kolli-malais and other hills 
of the District. Only three species of poisonous snakes are com- 
mon, namely, the cobra, Eussell's viper and the common green 
viper. The krait {Bungarus candidu-s) is less common than else- 
where ; the other poisonous species are rare. Some of the 
harmless species bear an extraordinarily close resemblance to some 
of the deadliest, for example, the young python or " rock snake " 
and Eryx conicus to the Eussell's viper ; the rat snake (Zamenis 
mucosus) to the cobra ; and some of the Lycodona to the dreaded 
krait ; the harmless species in each case being much more numerous 
than the poisonous ones. The reported human death-roll from 
snake-bite in Salem District between 1885 and 1906 was 3,499, an 
average of about 160 annually. The average number of reported 
deaths among cattle is 50 per annum. 

* The following list has been compiled by Mr. llobert FoulkeH ; Typhlops 
braminvs ; T. leddoniii ; T. acutus ; Python molurus ; Eryx conicus ; Eryx 
johnii ; Sdybura ocellata ; S. ellioti ; S. urevis ; S. nigra; S, nttida ; S. 
rubrolineata ; S. arcticeps ; Plectrurus perroteti ; Xylophis perroteti ; Lycodon 
ftriatua ; L. iravanroricus ; L, aulicus j Ilydropliohvt^ nympha ; H. gracilis ; 
Ablabfs calamaria ; Simotes arnensis ; Oligodon retiutitus ; 0. brevicauda ; 
0. affiriiis ; Polycdontophis suhpunctatus ; Zamenis mvcosus ; Z. fascvdatus ; 
Tropidonottis heddomii ; T. stolatus ; T. piscator ; T. plumhicclor ; Helicops 
schistosus ; Dipsas trigonata ; Dryophis dispar ; D. mycterizans ; D. pulverulentus ; 
Dypsirhina enhydris ; Callophis trimaculatus ; Ilemilung rus nigresccns (coral 
snake); Bungarus ^ candidus ; Aaia tripudian.t^ ; Naia bungarus f ; Echia 
cartnuta ; Vipera russellii ■f ; EuBEeH's viper or "dab<)ia"t; Lachesis macro- 
lepis t ; L. strigatus\ ; L. gramineus. 

Note. — Those marked with a t are " poisonons." 


Mahsoor ^ froquent the waters of the Kaveri below the CUAP. i. 
Hogeua-kal Falls, but they are very shy. Cariiatic Carp (Barbus Fauna. 
carnaticus, Tain, sol-kondai) and Eod Carp {Labeo Jimbriatus, -pit^h. 
Tain, veu-koiulai) abound in the Kaveri and prawns are common. 
The chief fishing- centres on the Kaveri arc at Solappadi and near 
Erode. In the rainy season, when the tanks are full, Kaveri fish 
find their way up the tributary streams and are to be found in 
tanks fed by these streams, many miles from the Kaveri itself. 

In the larger tanks, especially in the big tank at Barur, the 
fresh-water shark ( Wallayo attu, Tam. valai) attains considerable 
size. In minor streams and tanks several species of carp are to 
be found, e.g., Laheo kontius (Tam. karumani or karumuli-kendai), 
"Ohilwa " (Tam. volicehai, three or four species), L, ariza (Tam. 
kolariiijan), i. calbnsu, L. boga, Barbus melanastzyma, B, viiiaius, 
B. dorsalis, B. micropugon, B. pinnauratus, B, dubius, B. bovamcus. 
Murral {Ophtoceplialus maruUus, Tam. viral). Black Murral (0. 
di'iatus, Tam. kuravai), Loach (Lepidocephalicht/iys thermaiis, 
Tam. asarai), "scorpion fish" {Soccobranchm fossilis, Tam. 
kelafcti) and Silundia gangetica (Tam. ponatti), are all of 
local commercial importance. During the breach in the Grand 
and Lower Anaikats in 1909-10, " Hilsa " [Clupea ilisha) were 
traced as far up as Hogena-kal. Catla buchanani were introduced 
into the Barur Tank in 1910-11 by the Fishery Department. 
Eel {Anguifla bengalensis, Tam. vilangu) and the sand-eel or 
spine-eel (Mastacembclus armaius, Tam. aral) are sometimes 
caught in, the anaikat pools of Attur Taluk. 

^ For the note which follows I am indebted to Sir Frederick Nicholson, 


40 SALEM. 



1. Memoirs of tlie Geological Survey of India, Vol. lY, Part 2. 
" Oil the geological structure of portions of the districts of 

Trichinopoly, Salem and South Arcot, Madras, included in sheet No. 79 
of the Indian Atlas ; by "William King, Junior, and K. Bruce Foote." 

2. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XII — 

The Geological Features of the Southern Mahratta Country and 
adjacent Districts ; by H. B. Foote. 

3. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXVIII, Part 
2, pages 119 to 249. 

" The Charnockite Series." 

4. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXX, pp. 
i03 to 168, with map facing page 168. 

Geology of the ueighbourhood of Salem, witli special reference 
to Leschenault de la Tour's observations ; by T. H. Holland. 

6. Kecords of the Geological Surrey of India, Vol. XXIV, pp. 
157 to 200. 

Lacroix ; " Gneissose rocks of Salem and Ceylon." 

6. Records ; Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXV, pp. 135 to 

Preliminary Report on the Iron Ores and Iron-Industries of the 
Salem District, by Thomas H. Holland. 

7. Records ; Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXIX, Part 2, 1896. 
(a) Preliminary notes on some Corundum localities in the Salem 

and Coimbatore districts, Madras ; by C. S. Middleiuiss, pp. 39 to 60. 
(6) Notes on the Ultra-basic Rocks and derived minerals of the 
Chalk (magnesite) hills and other localities near Salem, by C. S. 
Middlemiss, pp. 32 to 38. 

8. (a) Records; Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXX, pp. 16 
to 42. 

On some Norite and associated Basic Dykes and Lava-flows in 
Southern India ; by T. H. Holland. 

(h) Records; Geological Survey of India, Vol. XXX, pp. 118 
to 122, 

Report on some trial excavations for Corundum near Palakod, 
Salem District ; by C. S. Middlemiss. 

9. Report on the Kolar Gold Field, and its Southern Extension ; 
by P. Bosworth Smith, Esf^., r.G s., Government Press, Madras, 1889. 

10. Manual of the Geology of India ; R. H. Oldham (ed. 1893). 



A. rREiiisiORic. — Neoliths — Neolithic Factory — lion Age. B. History. — 

General character of Salem History. I.. Ancient History,— (1) Mauryae, 
(2) Ilo:uaDs. II. PALiiAVA Pkbiod. — The Pallavas — Nanclivarman Pallava- 
ma 11a. — Disruption — (1) Ganga-Paliavas— (2) Nolamba-Pallavas — (3) Banas 
— (4) Western Gangas. III. Fkudal Pekiob. — Character of the Period — 
Govinda 111., 783—814 A.D.— Amoghavarsha J., 814—877 A.D.— Eashtra- 
kuta Decline — Tiiu-Paraiiibiyan — The Chola Expansion, Aditya I. — 
Pariintaka I. — Nolamba Aggression — Fall of Banas. — Revolution in Talakad 
— Krishna III., 940-956 A.D. — Takkolani, c. 950 A.D.— B.ashtraktita 
Collapse. IV. Chola Ascendkncy. — Ilajaraja I. — Chola-Chalukyan Duel — 
Chola Administration in the 11th Century. V. The Hoysala Empike. — 
The 12th Century — Hoysala Conquest of Gargavadi — War of Paiidyan 
Succession — Adigaimans of Dharmapnri — Collapse of Kal^-aui Chalukyas — 
Ballala II. — lloysala-Pandyan Duel — Vlia Eamanatha — The Muhanimadan 
Cataclysm. VI. Vijayanagab. — Founding of Vijayanagar — First Dynasty — 
. Revolution— Third Dynasty— Talikota, 1665 A.D. VII. 1565 — 1761.— After 
Talikota — Dissolution — (1) Rise of Mysore — (2) Rise of Madura— Tiruinala 
Nayaka — Poligars of the Mjirches — Madura-Mysore Duel — Bijapur and 
Golconda intervene — Kantlrava Narasa Raja — Ascendency of Mysore — 
Chikka Deva Raja — The Marathas— Reconquest--The Mughals — Break up 
of Mughal Empire — The Cuddapah Nawabs — Rise of Haidar Ali and the 
British. VIII. The Mysore Wars. — First Mysore War, 1767-9 — Maratha 
Advance — ^English Occupation of Baramahal — Haidar's Invasion of the 
Biitamahal — Ambur — Haidar's Retirement from the Baramahal — January 
to August 1768 — Col. Joseph Smith's Invasion of the Balaghat — Col. Wood's 
Campaign — Junction of Smith and Wood — Wood's Disasters, November 
1768 — Haidar's Invasion of the Carnatic — Second Mysoi-e War, 1780-84 — 
Thii-d Mysore War, 1790-92 — General Medow's Campaign, 1790 — Maxwell's 
Advance — Campaign of Comwallis, 1791 — Pennagaram — Krishnagiri — Close 
of the War— Interlude, 1 792-99— Fourth Mysore War— 1799. IX. District 

Neither eoliths nor palseoliths have hitherto been found in A. Preh>s. 
Salem District. Implements of the later Stone Ago are on the toric 
other hand abundant, and their workmanship shows a higher finish 
than do the neoliths of the Decca.n.l 

Neolithic implements have been found on the Shevaroys, the 
Kalrayans, the Kolli-malais, Vattala-malais, Melagiris and on the 
Guttirayan. They do not occur m the plains. The commonest 
implements arc celts and hammer-axes, the former with sharp 
cutting edges, the latter blunt. Mr. Bruce Foote's collection in 
the Madras Museum includes no less than 70 celts from Salem 
District, 5 hammer-axes, 3 " slick-stones " ', one pestle and a 

^ For the information on neoliths, I am mainly indebted to the late Mr. 

B. Bruce Fooie. 

* Or " slacking stones," for putting a gloss on cloth. 



OH A P. II. biconical stone perhaps representing a phallus. No scrapers or 
A. Pre HIS. spindles have yet been discovered, and there is nothing to show 
TOKic. ^,^^^ neolithic man ate, and how he was clothed ; the " slick - 
stones ", however, indicate that the art of weaving was not un- 
known. The favourite materials for implements are hypersthene- 
granite, diorite and diabase. Except at the Bargur " Factory " 
no neoliths have been found in situ, and no ancient habitation 
site has yet been traced. The implements are turned up by the 
plough of the modem Malaiyiili, gathered into shrines, and 
worshipped as gods. A few bits of neolithic pottery have been 
found on the Shevaroys ; some of those fragments have been ground 
into circular discs about two inches in diameter, and these wore 
probably used as pawns in some game. 
Neolithic Near Bargur in Krishnagiri Taluk an interesting discovery 

Factory. jj^ ^^^j^ made by Messrs. E. Bruce Footo and P. Bosworth Smith. 

" To the east of Varatana-palli, about two miles north of the 
149th milestone on the Madras-Bangalore Trunk Road, there is a 
lai^e doleritic dyke which seems to be a continuation of the 
' Mysore mine trap-dyke '. Under the temple hill here it will be 
seen that the dyke branches into two veins of about equal size. 
The rock, which forms the two small branches, is a fairly coarse- 
grained dolerite, giving a hackly fracture, but at the junction of 
these two, where the dyke rises in a small hillock, the vein, 
although more than throe times the width, is composed of an ex- 
ceedingly fine-grained stone, having a highly conchoidal fracture, 
80 much so that the stone has been used largely for hatchets, etc., 
by the old palsBolithio men, and specimens that have evidently 
come from this vein can bo found on many of the durgams round 
about. From the number of flakes and " wasters " found on the 
hillock, it can bo readily seen that this has been an old chipping 
ground." * 

The workmanship of these Bargur colts is very crude ; they 
are merely chipped, and neither ground nor polished. Mr. Bruce 
Foote concludes that they were probably rejecta, left behind 
because too bad in form to be worth advancing to a second, third 
and fourth stage. 
Iron Age. Erlics of the Iron Age are abundant, but they have not been 

systematically investigated. A monograph by the Ecv. Maurice 
Phillips, published in 1872, is the most recent work on the subject. 
Dr. Phillips classes the tumuli as (1) cromlechs^, or tumuli lined 

1 p. Bosworth Smith's Report on the Kclar Gold Field and its Southern 
Extsnsion ; Government Press, Madrns, 1889, pp. 20-21. 

* Tho OBo of the word "cromlech" is not here strictly accDratc, the term 
being properly coijfined to circles of upright stones. 




witli four perpend icnlar stone slabs, in the shape of a cist or box, 
ami (2) cairns, or tumuli which have no internal lining of stone. 
Some cairns contain large earthen urns, others have none. In 
outward appearance cairns and cromlechs are alike. " They present 
themselves to the eye as mounds of earth and small stones of 
various sizes ; circulrr in shape, and often surrounded with circles 
of large stones. They measure from 3' to 20' in diameter, and 
from 1' to 4' in height. Very often in the stone circles, four 
large stones opposite the four points are seen towering above the 
others ; and in the case of cromlechs the entrance is from the east. 

" After clearing away the mound and stones, it is found gener- 
ally, but not invariably, that the mouth of the tumulus is covered 
with a stone slab varying in size from 2' long by 2' broad and 4'' 
thick, to 9' long by 6' broad and 14" thick." 

*' Cromlechs " generally contain small urns and iron imple- 
ments biit no bones except very small pieces which appear charred. 
The chambers vary much in size. Some of them are as small as 
3' long, 2' wide, and 2' deep; and others are as large as 5' 
long, 3^' wide, and 4' deep. The large urns found in the cairns 
invariably contain human bones and small vessels ; and very often 
some iron implements and ornaments. They are hardly large 
enough to contain the body of a full-grown man, though placed 
in a sitting posture, with the legs and thighs drawn up, and the 
head bent downwards between the knees, as is sometimes found 
in tumuli in Europe. If, therefore, full-grown men were buried 
in them, the body must have been either cut up, or partly burnt, 
before interment. The position of the bones in layers, one upon 
the other, seems to indicate the same conclusion. The cairns 
which contain no urns are the most barren in results. In some 
of them nothing is found ; and in others only small urns with 
small bits of iron, the crumblings of some instruments ; and small 
pieces of bones which look like the remnants of cremation. 

The large urns are so brittle that they invariably fall to pieces 
by their own weight as soon as the surrounding earth is moved. 
They very much resemble the large chatties or sals now used by 
the Hindus to hold water or grain in their houses. Some vessels 
are red and some black ; some are red inside and black outside 
and vice versa. The surface of some has been polished by rubbing 
it with the mucilaginous juice of Ahutilon indicum, a process still 
in vogue in India. The ornaments found are round and oval 
beads of different sizes and colour, which must have been worn 
by women as necklaces and bracelets. According t,o Dr. Hunter 
they are made of carnelian ornamented with a pure white enamel 
of considerable thickness, which has been let into the stone by 

A. Prkhib* 



A. Pbehis' 


B. History. 
character of 
Salem His- 

grinding the pattern, filling in probably with oxide of tin and 
exposing the stone to heat. The enamel is very hard, cannot be 
touched with a knife, and is not acted upon by strong nitric acid. 
The iron implements most commonly found arc knives or short 
swords, from 12" to 22" in length, but they occur in such a 
crumbling state, that it is difficult to procure one unbroken. 

These tumuli are, as elsewhere in South India, popularly 
associated with the Panda va brothers, and are known as Pandava- 
Kuli or Pandava-Kovil ; terms as valueless historically as the 
epithet " Cyclopeean " in Greece, or as the "Nimrod" legends in 
Babylonia. With the usual inconsistency of legend, the cairns arc 
also said to have been built by dwarfs, a span or cubit in height, 
who were endowed with the strength of giants. Pandava " pits " 
and " shrines " are found all over the District, notably on either 
side of the Morappur-Harur road, in the vicinity of Kundani, and 
on a hill near Gummalapuram. Some urns were discovered at 
Muudagambadi when the Tercaud Ghat road was constructed, and 
a bill-hook about 2^' long was found with them. 

The History of South India is the record of a never-ending 
struggle between the peoples of the Deccan plateau and the peoples 
of the south, an unceasing ebb and flow of nations. The border- 
lino between those contending forces is formed by the Eastern 
Ghats, which run in an irregular line from east to west, from Kala- 
hasti and the Tirupati Hills of Chittoor District to the >Jilgiri8 
and the Palghat Gap. It is on this border-line that Salem District 
is situated, and the history of the District is essentially the history 
of a march land. Moreover, the physical barrier of the Kalrayan- 
Shevaroy mountain ranges has been in the past of vast political 
importance, and the history of the Baramahal is for the most part 
a thing apart from that of the Talaghat. Geographically the 
Talaghat belongs to the ancient Kongu country, which comprised 
most of what is now Coimbatore District, together with the taluks 
of Karur, Namakkal, Salem, Tiruchengodu and Omalur. Its 
history is dependent on that of the Ch5la country (Trichinopoly 
and Tanjore), and in a less degree on that of the western districts 
of the present state of Mysore. The history of the Baramahal, 
on the other hand, is dependent on that of the ancient Tondai- 
mandalam^ (the present Sotith Arcot, Chingleput, and North 
Arcot Districts) and, almost as intimately, on that of the eastern 
districts of Mysore, and the hinterland to the north of them 
(Cuddapah, Anantapur, and even Bellary), Hence it is that 
Salem District has never formed a political entity, and therefore 

^ See below, p. 46 for an explanation of the name Tondai-niandalam. 



I. Ancient 


(1) Mauryas. 

claims no separate history of its own. Wedged botween the OHAP. II, 
Dcccan and tho plains, it has owned allegiance in tnrn to Pallava, B. History. 
Chola, and Pilndya, to Manyakhcta^ , Dorasarandra and Vijaya- 
nagar. Enled at one time by the Viceroy of a distant Emperor, 
at another by his fendatory vassals ; placed on the highway of 
conquering and vanquished armies ; plundered again and again by 
Pathan and Maratha freebooters, and by local adventurers ever 
ready to profit by the wcalcness of a suzerain, fought over by 
Madura Nayak and Mysore Odeyar, by Haidar Ali and " John 
Company " ; too poor to support a capital, a dynasty or an army 
of its own, and too important strategically to be left in peace by 
a powerful neighbour, Salem District has had a troubled past. 

The Edicts of the Maury an P]mperor Asoka (272-231 B.C.) 
depict the three historic kingdoms of South India, Ch51a, Chera 
and Pandya, as friendly independent states. The southernmost 
Mauryaa inscription is at Siddapur, in the Chitaldrag District 
of Mysore, and between tho Maury an Empire and the Dra vidian 
Kingdoms a broad belt of forest intervened. Jt is possible, 
therefore, that in the Mauryan period Salem District was covered 
with primeval jangle. If it were worth claiming, it must have 
belonged to Chera or Chola. 

On the death of As5ka (231 B.C.) his empire crumbled. (2) Romans 
The three kingdoms of the south did not share in the Mauryan 
decay. Their mutual wars, no doubt, kept them virile. In 47 
B.C., Julius Csesar was master of Alexandria, and the Romans at 
once began to develop the Red Sea trade ^. It is certain that, by 
the beginning of the first century of the Christian era, a vigorous 
trade was established between the South Indian Kingdoms and 
the ports of Egypt. In 47 A.D. a further impetus was given to 
commerce by the discovery that, taking advantage of the monsoon 
winds, a shorter and safer course could be steered to the Malabar 
Coast. The most noteworthy articles of commerce were the 
pepper of Malabar, the pearls of Ceylon, acd beryl. Eery! of the 
colour approved by Roman society under the Julian Emperors 
was available at only one spot in the then known world, viz., at 
Padiyur in Coimbatore District^. Large hoards of Roman coins 
have been found at Madura, the old Pandyan capital, at Karur, 
the old Chera capital, and at PoUachi, Savadi-palaiyam and 
Vellalur in Coimbatore. Most of these coins belong to the reigns 

^ la G.E. Report for 1902, page 3, Dr. Hultzsch questions the correctness 
of the generally accepted identification of the Eashtraktita capital with Malkhed, 
in the Nizam's Doitinions. 

2 Vide Mr. R. Sewell in J.R.A.S., XXIII, pp. 591-637. 

46 SALEM. 

CHAP. II. of Augfustua and Tiberius, a few to Claudius and Caligula. It is 
I. Anciknt clear that a regular trade route existed from Madura to Coim- 

1 ' batore via the Kaveri valley. Hoards of Eoman coins have also 

been found in the neighbourhood of Bangalore.^ It is not 
known what trade the Romans had with the Deccan at this 
period, or whether the traffic thither passed via Coimbatore. In 
any case, it is certain that, in the first century A.D., Salem was 
touched on the «>oath, the west and the north by peaceful, pros- 
perous states, and though it is unlikely that the trade routes 
actually passed through Salem District, the country must at least 
have profited indirectly. 

It is in this period that some scholars have placed the golden 
age of Tamil literature, the age of the Tamil Sangam or Academy, 
when Paranar, Kapilar, Tiruvalluvar (the author of the Kural) 
and a host of other literary luminaries flourished. Not the least 
among them was the poetess Avvaiyar, who flourished under the 
patronage of Adiyaman Neduman Anji of Tagadur.^ It was then 
that the Chera King Sengut.tuvan ruled from his capital at Vanji, 
on the "West Coast at the mouth of the Periyar, his dominion 
extending into the Kongu country, and the KoUi-malais were the 
seat of Government of the Chora prince Mantharam Serai Ivura- 
porai. It is true that the existence of a matured Tamil civilization 
in the first century A.D. is not supported by epigraphic records, 
but it is difficult to assign the zenith of Tamil literature to any 
other period, and it is hardly conceivable that the coins of the 
Julian Emperors of Home would be distributed so freely over a 
country not well advanced in culture.' 
II. Thk On the death of Nero a change came over Eoman society. 

Pallavas. Luxury waned, manners became simpler, and the eastern trade 
, declined. The History of South India remains a blank till the 
4th century A.D., when the Pallavas are found firmly established 
in the east coast country, known for centuries after as Tondai- 
mandalam.* The Pallavas appear to have ruled from several 

1 Coimbatore Manual, II, p. 363, Indian Antiquary V, p. 237. ^ Dharmapuri. 

> See ^i««n«nt India, p. 33G sq. and The Tamils Eighteen Uundred Tears Ago, 
pp. 100 and 107. 

*The modern districts of North and South Arcot and Chingloput. 'Jonda- 
man (=Tonda king). " Tonda " may have been a country or a people. The 
tradition ascribing the origin of the word to the administration of the Pallava 
country by a Chola prince Adondai, born to kiug Kokkilli by a Naga princess, is 
a late invention to account for the origin of the Pallavas. "At the time when 
this story was invented, the Pallavas were probably looked upon as the outcome 
of a mixture of Ch6la and Naga blood."— Mr. V. Vonkayya in G.O. No. 1070 Roy- 
of 190i. Cf.a note by Mr. S. Krislinaswami Ayyangar in " Celebrities in Tamil 
Literature"— Iwd. Ant. Vol. XXXVII, p. 235. 

nt- No. M7 


■-Arkonam q*VADRAS 
ruvalam j 




ondich«rry <Fr.) 

!, Parte Novo 

.Ijy^ _ uJi.n,, I. 


Cangai kondacholapu ram 




diflToront capitals, among them Kanolii, Vengi ^ on the Godavari, CHAP II. 
and Palakkada. Apparently the two latter were independent of U- Thk 

each other, and the king of Kanohi exercised some sort of over- .'J 

lordship over hoth. It has boon surmised with some probability 
that " the Pallava power was superimposed upon the ancient 
territorial states much in the same way as the Maratha power 
was in later times " and " was confined ordinarily to the levying 
of tribute and blackmail." Some such hold the Pallavas may 
have exercised over Salem District, though there is no evidence 
of J.^allava rule till the eighth century A.D., when the legitimate 
monarchs of Kanchi, discredited by their expulsion from the 
Deccan at the hands of the Badami Chalukyas, were ousted 
from the succession by Nandi-varman Pallava-malla, the scion of Nandivarman 
a collateral branch of the royal family. " Chosen by his sub- J'^Hava- 
jects," he had to fight for the sovereignty, and owed his ultimate 
success to the devotion of his general Udayachandra, who rescued 
him when beset by the " Dramila Princes," adherents no doubt, 
of the legitimate line, whose leader Chitramaya was slain by 
Udayachandra's own hand. This soldier won victories for his 
master's armies from Tinnovelly to Nellore. His name is peculi- 
arly interesting from its connection with the village of Udayen- 
diram on the Palar, on the border of Tiruppattur Taluk, just 
within the limits of North Arcot District. The " Udayondiram 
Plates " ^ may be claimed as the earliest historical record of Salem 
District, and they prove that, early in the eighth century, part, at 
least, of the District was within the pale of civilization. 

Nandi-varman Pallava-malla lived to see at least the 50th year 
of his reigu. For 22 years he preserved his Empire intact ; but 
soon after 733 A.D. his kingdom was invaded by Vikramaditya II, 
grandson of the monarch of the same name, who restored the 
Chalukya Empire and expelled the Pallavas from the Deccan. 
The invader entered Kanchi, but did not sack the city ; instead he 
contented himself with setting up a pillar of victory " near the 
ocean," and, after granting heaps of gold to the principal Siva 
temple in the place, he withdrew. 

The Badami Chalukyas did not long survive their victory, for 
in 757 A.D. their Empire was completely overthrown by the JRash- 
traktitas of Malkhod. The defeat of Nandi-varman Pallava-malla 
also marks the end of Pallava greatness, and after his death all 
that remained of the Pallava Empire was divided between the 
dynasty known as the Ganga-Pallavas, apparently the direct 


^ Afterwards the capital of tlie Eastern Chalukyas. 
2 See S.I.I., Vol. II, pt. II, p. 361. 


II. The 

(I) Ganga- 

4g SALEM. 

descendants ' of Pallava-malla, and the " Later PaUavaa," who may 
represeut either the snccessors of Chitramaya, who led the 
"Dramila Prinees" and was slain by Nandi-varnian Pallava- 
malla's general Udayachaudra, or the deseeudants of Paramesvara- 
varman II, whose throne Pallava-malla had iisurped. 

The kines of the so-eallod Gaupa-Pallava Dynasty are distm- 
gnished by the prefix " Ko " (=King) a"d " Vijaya as part of 
their proper names, and, as in the case of the PaUava kmgs, the.r 
names terminate in « varman' ". Though the area over which 
they ruled was large, their civilizaticu mnst have been inferior to 
that of their prcdcecssors, most of the records being set up to comme- 
morate the death of heroes iu cattle raids. Their records ^e 
found in the districts of Tanjore, Trichinopoly Chinglepnt, the 
two Arcots, as far north «s Gndimallam, and m the ""rt'-J™* »« 
Salem District ' The Cholas seem to have acknowledged their 
ItZfZ- There are several names, however of .-ulcrs bearing 
the titles of this dynasty whom it .s not easy to locate At Hanu- 
manta-puram,nearPenn,lgaram, in Dharniapun Taluk, there are 
two inLipti^ns of the 17th year of one V jaya Isvara-varman, 
whoseTame is also mentioned in an iuscription at Hebban, near 
MnTto°ri ' The " IMva-kota Plates' " are dated in the Mth year 
^ on^ Ko-Vijava-Skandasishya-Vikrama-varman and record a 
Irantmade at hi request of " Mahavali-Vauanlja >, i.e the Bana 
k ng IW is yet another name, that of Ko-VuY^-N^^""''!'- 
^l^an', whose inscriptieus have been found at Kil-Muttugur, in 

. The i™"'""'"'," 'f;„At°l. The political .eUtio-.hi,. between the 
Tanjore«.|.dt»t-°Ar,^^^^ ^ .,«.,.„torlly made o«.. 

^l^t^^To'-.hL-trt:^"."!--' -. S*- OlatKot. see...... 

Vni p. 522, and G.E. Keport, 1910-11. 

s'cf) Danti-varman roigned at least ol years. 

(ii) Nandi-varmau ,. ^* " 

(iii) Nripatunga-varman „ 26 „ 

(iv) Aparujita " ^.^^„ whose'reign lasted at least 23 years. He 

There was also a ^a^^va^ ^^^ ^^,^ther of Nripatunga-varman. 

that the reigns of son.e of these rulers overlapped. 

*.l^TV^^'"^^c' E^- Carn.Vol.X, Kolar,No.211 of Mulbagal 


6 Ep. Ind. V, p. 49. 


North Arcot, aud also in Mulbagal Taluk^; ono of these mentions CHAP. II. 
the chief of Ta.gadur-Nad, the modern Dharmapuri.^ II. The 

Another rolic of the Pallava Empire survived in the teiTitory 

north and east of the Talakad Gangas, namely the Nolamba-Pal- ^p^^ikvlr^"" 
lavas, descendants, perhaps, of Pallavas who settled in the Deccan 
after the sack of Badami by Narasimha-varman I (642-655 A.D.) 
The territory occupied by these settlers became known as the 
" Nolamba-vadi 82,000," the nominal number of villages com- 
prised within it. 

Another principality which attained a precarious indepen- (3) lianas, 
dence with the fall of Kanchi and Badami was that of the Banas, 
whose territory is described as being Vadugavaliyin-merku, a term 
which may mean either "the country to the west of the Andhra 
Road, " or " the Western portion of the Andhi'a Eoad." ^ Vadugu- 
vali was the name of the district over which the Banas ruled. 
Their territory certainly extended over part of Mysore and part of 
Salem and North Arcot and their inscriptions are found as 
far north as Nellcre. Their capital was probably at Tiruvalam in 
Grudiyattam Taluk of North Arcot, anciently called Vanapuram. 
They were essentially guardians of the Ghats. A rock inscription 
of one of their kings occurs at Eaya-kota,* and, from the " Eaya- 
kota Plates ^' above referred to, it would appear that the Barama- 
hal was ruled, in the ninth century by Bana kings under the 
suzerainty of some collateral branch of the Ganga- Pallava family. 

Advantage had been takea of the confusion into which South (4) Western 
India was plunged on the fall of the Badami Empire by a prince ^^"S"^''- 

1 Ep. Cam. Vol. X, (Kolar) No. 227 of Mulbagal Taluk. 

2 Mr. Krishna Sastri suggests (p. f>3 of G.E. Report for 1910-11) that 
" the major portion of the North Arcot district, with the bordering portions of 
Salem and Kolar were, even in the earlier Pallava times, under the sway of local 
chiefs who claimed, in a way, some distant relationship with the ruling 
dynasty of the Pallavas," that in the confusion that followed the usurpation of 
Nandi-varman Pallava-malla, they ti-iid to assert their independence, with 
Rashtrakuta aid, and that under Nripatunga, or perhaps in his father's time, 
they succeeded in establishing themselves as a dominant dynasty. 

3 The strategic impoitance of the Bana territory can be abundantly 
illustrated from history, e.g., the defeat of the Nawiib Dost Ali Khan at Damal. 
cheruTU iu 1740, the defeat of Anwar-nd-din in 1754, and most of the campaigns 
of Haidar Ali and Tipn against tho British. 

* The Banas traced their descent from tie demon Mahabali, but their 
connection with the Seven Pagodas (Mahabali-puram) is " dueto nothing but fancy, 
because there is no evidence whatever to show that their territories extended bo 
far." The Seven Pagodas, MiLmalla-puram, or Mahamalla-puram, were evidently 
called after the Pallava Narasimha varman, one of whose titles was " Mahamalla " 
the " Great Wrestler "—See G.E. Iii04, para. 20 and Eice, Mysore Quzitteer 1 
300 sq. 




II. The 


(4) Westren 


Character of 
the period. 

of Ganga race bj name Sivamaia. Ho was the hereditary ruler of 
what was known as the " Kougal Nad Eight Thousand." There 
are records in Mysore which may be assigned to him, one of which 
mentions him solely hy name, without any regal title of any kind, 
but uses a technical expression which stamps him as holding a rank 
and authority considerably greater than those of any mere local 
Governor, and others which speak of him as the " Konguni King," 
a term applied to all his successors. His date has been tentatively 
fixed as 755-765 A.D. He was succeeded by his son (or grand- 
son) Sripurusha Muttarasa.^ His title at first was the same as 
his father's, but there is evidence on his inscriptions that he 
gradually felt his way to independence. He is known later by 
the title " Maharaja " and finally he adopts the full titles of a 
paramount king " Maharajadhiraja " and " Paramesvara." The 
territory he ruled over coincided more or less with the south- 
eastern portion of what is now Mysore State ; it was technical I}' 
known as the " Gangavadi 96,000 " i.e., a province of 96,000 
villages ; his capital was Talakad, a sand-buried city on the banks 
of the Kaveri near KoUegal. His reign was a long one of at least 
42 years, and his date may be tentatively fixed as 764-805 A.D. 

The period extending from the middle of the eighth century to 
the end of the tenth may be called the Feudal period. It opens 
with the subversion of the Badiimi Chalukyas by the Eashtrakfitas, 
and closes with the subversion of the Eashtrakiitas by the Chaluk- 
yas of Kalyani. The Gauga-Pallavas struggle for existence for a 
century and a half, and finally fall before the Cholas, Chola 
expansion is checked for a time by the Eashtrakiitas and their 
feudatories, but the fall of the Eashtraktitas is followed by the 
conquests of Eajaraja the Great, and by the end of the tenth century 
the political forces of South India arc once more concentrated in 
the hands of two hostile Emperors. 

The Feudal period may be conveniently divided into three 
phases, each phase dependent on the tone of Eashtrakuta rule : — 

(1) A phase of war and consolidation coincident with the 
rule of Govinda III, 783-814. 

(2) A peace phase, answering to the long reign of Amogha- 
varsha I, 815-878 A.D. 

J Two Vattelutta inscriptions (G.E. Nos. 211 and 212 of 1910) have 
recently been discovered at Odda-patti, near IJommidi llailway Station, dated 
in the 27th and 7th year respectively of Sripurusha. As Odda-patti is situated 
almost in the extreme south-east corner of the Baramahal, it would follow that 
Sripurusha's sway extended over the greater part, if not the whole, of the 
northern taluks. 


(3) A phase of anarchy answering to the period of Eashtra- CHAP. II 
kuta decline (878-973 AD.), with a short period of revival under ill. Feudal 
Krishna III (910-968). ''^'2!^' 

By the beginning- of the ninth century the liashtrakuta Govinda f^ovimh III. 
Ill was master of the Deccan. By cstahlishing his suzerainty 
over the Western G-angas of Talakad, Govinda III indirectly 
influenced the history of Salem District for the next two 
centuries. Sripurusha Muttarasa was not permitted to enjoy his 
paramount title for long. It is known from Itashtrakiita records 
that king Dhruva imprisoned a Ganga prince, and that Govinda 
III "released hira from a long captivity and sent him back to his 
own country." This prince abused his captor's generosity, and 
Govinda III was " compelled to reconquer the Ganga, who through 
excess of pride stood in opposition to him, and to put him in 
fetters again." This would be about 810 A. D. 

The name of this adventurous prince is not given. It appears 
that Muttarasa had two sons, the elder Sivamara II and the 
younger Eana-vikrama. It is claimed, in the spurious Manne 
Grant, that one Sivamara won a name for himself by victories over 
the armies of the Eashtraktitas, Chalukyas and others, and that ho 
" defeated the countless cavalry of Dliruva which had overrun 
the whole earth. " It is possible that Sivamara II was entrusted 
with the command of his father's armies, and during the campaign 
was defeated and captured by Dhruva, that, on his father's death, 
he was liberated by Govinda III, " to take up the leadership of 
the Gangas," and was crowned by him as his vassal, (about A.D. 
805). It is possible that Sivamara II, on regaining his throne, 
rebelled, and that his second captivity let in his younger brother 
to the Western Ganga succession. If the imprisoned Ganga prince 
was not Sivamara II, he must have been Sripurusha Muttarasa 
himself, and his assumption of imperial titles would bo the im- 
mediate cause of his downfall. It is certain that Muttarasa's son, 
Eana-vikrama, began to reign about 810, and that he was a loyal 
vassal to the Eashtraktita kings. It is also certain that about this 
time the Western Ganga dominions were divided, and that the 
eastern portion became a separate State under Sivamara II and 
his desceudants, with their capital at Kolar.^ 

Govinda III was (c. 8 15- A.D.) succeeded by his son, Amogha- AmoghaTai- 
varsha I, whose reign extended to the phenomenal length of ^^'^ 
62 years. He was religiously minded, a devout supporter of the 

» 1 he Kolar Gaiigas were :— (1) Sivamiira II, (2) Pritliivlpati I, (3) 
Marasimha, (4) Prithivipati II Hastimalla. 




III. Feudal 



Jain faith and a great patron of literature. He enjoyed to the 
full the fruits of the great wars of Govinda III, kept at bay the 
Eastern Chalukyas, and resigned the sovereignty in extreme old 
age to his son, the Yuvaraja Krishna II. 

The march land enjoyed comparative peace during this reign ; 
it is a period of political marriages, suggestive of the palmy days of 
mediaeval chivalry. An alliance was made between the Ganga-Palla 
vas and the Eashtrakutas, and the Ganga-Pallava king, Nandi- 
vikrama-varman, whose reign lasted at least 62 years, took to wife 
the daughter of Amoghavarsha.i The Bana king, Vikramaditya 
I, acquiesced in the overlordship of the Ganga-Pallavas. The 
relations between the two branches of the Western Gaugas appear 
amicable. The Kolar Ganga Sivamara II was succeeded by his 
son Prithivlpati I, who seems, like Amoghavarsha and Naudi- 
vikrama-varman,.to have enjoyed a very long reign. His daughter 
married the Bana Vikramaditya I, and he was in close alliance 
with the Ganga-Pallavas. The Talakad-Gangas appear to have 
enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity under liana-vikrama (son 
of Sripurusha-Muttarasa) and his son Eajamalla (c. 840—871). 
The latter cemented an alliance with the Nolambas by giving his 
daughter Jayabbe to the Nolamba king Nolambadhiraja,^ son of 

The death of Amoghavarsha in 877 A.D. marks the beginning 
of Eashtrakuta decline, and the weakness of his successors was the 
signal for unrest in the South, 

The Ganga-Pallava Nandi-vikrama-varman was succeeded by 
his son Nripatunga, who appears to have been the most success- 
ful monarch of his line. It is significant that, during his reign, 
the Ganga-Pallavas abandoned the Ganga emblems of elephant 
and swan, and reverted to the bull crest of the ancient Pallavas. Ho 
directed his energies towards extending his dominions to the south 
in the direction of Trichinopoly and Tanjore. 

The advance of the Ganga-Pallavas was, however, checked by 
a counter-movement of the part of the Pandyans under Varaguna- 
varman, who ascended the Paudyan throne in 862-3 A.D,^ The 
struggle culminated in a pitched battle, fought at Tiru-Parambiyam 
near Kumbakonam, in which Varaguna was confronted by the 
united forces of the Ganga-Pallavas, under Aparajita, and the 
Kolar-Gangas, under Prithivlpatlii I ; Prithivlpathi I was slain, 
but Varaguna was routed and the Ganga-Pallavas were saved 
for a while. 

^ Ep. Jnd. YI, p. 60, cf . Mysore Gazetteer, Vol. I, p. 307. 
» (}.E, 1907, p. 67, 

flISTORY. 53 

The tattle of Tiru-Parambiyam was pregnant with results. CHAP. II. 
1"'hc riaiu of Varagima paved the way for the Chola Empire. In pKRron/ 

about 880 A.D., a prince named Aditja I, asoondod the Chola 

throne. According to the ICongu-desa-rdjakkal, ho conquered ^.^*^*„giy,, 
Kongu ill 894 A.D- The statement is consistent with certain Aditya]. 
inscriptions ^ copied at Salem and TiruchengSdu, But his greatest 
achievement was the invasion of Tondai-mandalam, the defeat of 
Aparajita and the complete subversion of the Ganga-Pallavas. 

In 906-7 Aditya I was succeeded by his son Parantaka I, a Paiantaka i. 
clever statesman and an able soldier. His reign extended to 948 
A.D. His inscriptions have been found from Cape Comorin to 
Kalahasti in Chittoor. His capture of Madura led him to adopt 
the title " Madirai-Konda," ^ and his records at Salem and 
Tiruchengodu, the latest of which is dated in his 37th year, prove 
thai under him the southern portion of Salem District was a settled 
and orderly province of the Ch51a dominions. 

Meanwhile the Baramahal became the field for Nolamba Nolamba 
aggrandisement. Eaja-malla, it will be remembered, had given his Aggression, 
daughter Jayabbe in marriage to the Nolamba king, Nolambadhi- 
raja. Their son Mahendra, a nephew through his mother of 
Butuga I, succeeded to the Nolamba throne in or before 878-9 
A.D. He seems to have been of a turbulent disposition. He 
waged war on the Bauas, and claims to have destroyed them. He 
certainly ousted them from the Baramahal, for an inscription of 
his has been found at Dharmapuri, dated 892-3 A.D. and Nolamba 
rule continued at Dharmapuri till 930-1 A.D., the date of an 
inscription of Mahendra's great-grandson Irula.^ 

^ The Chola kings called themselves alternately Eajakesari-varman and Para- 
kesari-varnian. The latter title was adopted by Parantaka I, and therefore the 
former was applicable to Aditya 1. The early Cholas of this dynasty give no 
other name. The records of the later members of the family usnally give a 
distinctive name. Inscriptions of Eajakesari-varman are found at Salem (e.g., 
«.W. Nos. 47 and 49 of 1888) and at Tiruchengodu (e.g., Nos, 625, 627 and 629 of 
1905, dated respectively in the 16th, 14lb and 13th regnal years). These are all 
gifts of gold for feeding Brahmans. It is not unlikely that the Tiruchengcdu 
inscriptions are of Aditya I. 

2 G.E. Nos. 632,633, 640 of 1905 give the epithet " Madirai Konda, " and 
are dated respectively in his 37th, 20th and 27th year. They record gifts of 
gold for temple lamps. There are several other inscriptions of Parakosari-varman 
at Tiruchengodu which may or may not be bis. The inscription of " Ko-ParakC- 
Bari-varman" in the Snkavanesvara temple of Salem, dated in the 5th and 6th 
regnal years, probably belong to him (See G.E. 1888). 

3 G.E., No. 198 of 1910. Mahendra was succeeded by his son, Ayyappa, two 
of whose inscriptions occur at Dharmapuri, viz , G.E. Nos. 304 and 305 of 1901, 
which have been edited by Mr. Krishna Sastri in Ep. Ind., Vol X, pp. 44 sq. 
Ayyappa was succeeded in turn by his son Anniga, and Anniga by his son Irula. 
The last of the line was Dillparaea. See G.E. Eeport for 1910-11, p. 65. 



III. Fkudal 


Fall of the 

in Talakad. 

The overthrow of the Gaiig^a-Pallavas by Aditya I deprived 
the Banas of their hereditary allies, and the attacks of Mahoudra 
robbed them of half their territory. Vilcramaditya I, the loyal 
vassal of the Ganga-PallavaNandi-vikramavarman. was succeeded 
by his son, Vijayaditya II, whose inscriptions, dated in 897 and 
904 A.D. acknowledge no suzerain. His successor, Vikramaditya 
II, throw in his lot with the Eashtrakutas aud allied himself with 
Krishna II. The Kolax-Gaugas were wiser. Prithivipati I, the 
hero of Tiru-Parambiyam, was succeeded by his son Marasimha, 
of whom little is known. His son, however, Prithivipati II, other- 
wise called Hastimalla, boldly threw in his lot with Parilntaka I. 
Some time prior to 914 A.D. Parautaka attacked and wiped out 
the Bana kingdom, and set up the Kolar-Ganga Hastimalla as 
lord over it.^ The choice was a wise one, for Hastimalla's father's 
sister had married the Bana Vikramaditya I. Hastimalla adopted 
the Bana black-buck banner and bull crest, and ruled as a faithful 
Chola vassal so long as the Cholas remained paramount." Parau- 
taka, in his endorsements on the two Udayendiram Plates of 
Nandi-varman Pallava-malla, confirmed those ancient Pallava 
grants, and indicated thereby his ambition that the Cholas should 
rebuild the Empire which the Pal lavas had lost. 

There is reason to believe that the policy of Mahundra was 
inspired by a revolutionary movement among the AVestorn Gangas 
in Talakad. Eajamalla was succeeded in about 870 A.D., by his 
son Butuga I. Butuga I was followed in about 908 A.D. by his 
son Ereyappa, a prince who is nowhere shown in the inscriptions 
as Yuvaraja. Perhaps an explanation is found in the fact that in 
891-2 a Ganga prince, Eacheya Gauga by name, was slain in 
battle by the Nolambas. All the available evidence goes to show 
that Ereyappa was a close ally of the Nolambas,^ and hostile to 
the Rashtrakutas, and it is possible that Eacheya Ganga was an 
elder son of Butuga I, and that Ereyappa, after the Nolambas had 
slain his elder brother, took advantage of the temporary weak- 
ness of the Eashtraktitas to form an alliance with the Nolambas 
and throw off his allegiance to the paramount power.* 

' See Udayendiram Plates of Naadi-varmuu Pallava-malla aud Hasti- 
raalla, Ep. Ind. Ill, p. 142 sq., and S.I.I., Vol. 11- pp. 3G1 and 387. 

* See also the Sholinghur inscription, Ep. Ind. IV, No. 32, p. 221, whore 
Uaetimalla is called also Vlra-Ch6la. 

* It is interesting to note that Maheudra himself, his son Ayjapa and his 
grandson Anniga, all married Ganga princessop. 

* Butuga I, 870-908 

Racheja Ganga slain 
891-2 ? 

Butuga II, 940-963. 

Ereyappa, 908-n38 

Eacha-malla — slain 938-9 by Butuga 11. 



Tho above explanation is siif^pested by what followed on CHAP. II 
Eroyappa's death, in about 938 A.D. PJreyappa was succeeded III. Fecdal 

by his sou Racha-malla shortly after Krishna III succeeded to the '_ * 

throne. Krishna III at once formed an alliance with one Butnga, Krishna HI 
who married his elder sister Eevakka. Within a year of Ereyap- 
pa's death, this Butuga had, with Krishna's help, slain his son 
liac^ha-malla, and reig-ned in his stead. In the language of the 
inscriptions, liiloha-malla was a poisonous tree which was up- 
rooted, and Butuga II was a pure tree which Krishna III had 
planted in his place. ^ It is a probable conjecture that this 
Butuga II was a son of the Eacheya Gauga slain by the Nolam- 
bas in 891-2 A.D., and that the revolution effected by Krishna III 
was merely the restoration to the Ganga throne of the rightful 
line which Ereyappa had supplanted. 

The installation of Butuga II was a skilful stroke of diplomacy Takkolaic 
on the part of Krishna III. Partly as dowry from his wife and 
partly iu return for the slaying of Eacha-malla, the new Ganga 
king was entrusted with a large extent of territory.^ Krishna's 
confidence in Butuga was not misplaced. With his western flank 
protected, Krishna III was free to advance southward, and curb 
the rising ambitious of the Cholas. The Chola dominions were 
invaded, and, within a year (949-950 A.D.), a pitched battle was 
fought at Takk51am (near Arkonam), the Chola forces were routed, 
and, with Butuga's assistance, the Ch51a prince Eajaditya was 
slain. ^ Hastimalla the Kolar-Ganga made a virtue of necessity, 
and became the vassal of the victor. 

Krishna III ruled for about 20 years after his great victory at iiashtrakuta 
Takkolam. Butuga II died about 95-3 A.D. Of his grandson. Collapse. 
Eaoha Ganga, who appears to have succeeded him, little is known. 

About 963 A.D. Marasimha acceded to the Western Ganga 
throne, and proved himself the mainstay of the Rashtrakuta 
power. One of his first exploits was to crush the turbulent 
Nolambas ; for this service he was rewarded by his suzerain with 
the Nolambavadi province of 32,000 villages, and he adopted the 
title Nolamba-kulantaka, " Death to the Nolamba race." He also 
acquired the " Santalige 1,000. '' These acquisitions, together with 

1 El). Ind. VI, p. 70. 

2 Revakka's dowry consisted of tho Purigero 38, the Belvola 300, the 
Kisukad 70 and the Baginad 70. For killing Eacha-malla l^utuga II was 
awarded the Gangavadi 96,000, in other words he took over in toto tlie Ganga 

3 For this service Butuga II was rewarded with the Banavaae 12,000, See 
Sp. Ind. Vol. VI, p. 57. 

* BanavaSe, granted by Krisbna III to Butuga II, had to be reconquered from 
tho viceroys to whom Butuga had cutrnsted it. 



CHAP. 11. 
III. Feudal 

IV. Chola 



Rajaraja I. 

The Chola. 

his hereditary dominions, made him one of the most powerful 
monarchs of South India,^ and he was able to assist Krishna III 
substantially in his campaign against Grujarat. But the days of the 
Rashtrakuta Empire were numbered. "Within a few years of 
Krishna Ill's death, the Eashtrakuta Empire was siibvertod, in 
spite of the loyal assistance of Marasimha, by Taila II, the founder 
of the Later or Kalyani Chalukyas. The Western Grangas did not 
long survive. In 974 Marasimha abdicated in favour of his son 
Panchala-deva and *' died in the practice of religion at the feet of 
a Jain teacher named Ajitasena at Bankapur, starving himself 
to death by a thi'ee days' fast." Panchala-deva attempted to re- 
cover independence, but was shortly afterwards defeated and slain 
by Taila II. A son of Panchala-deva named Racha-malla 
succeeded, and an inscription of his shows that he was reigning 
in 978 A.D. He aimed at independence, and tlie events that led to 
his dowafall are not known. He was the last of his lino. After 
his death the Granga dominions seem to have been absorbed 
in the Chalukya Empire, as it was from the Chalukyas that the 
Ch51as took Gangavadi. 

It took nearly fifty years for the Cholas to rooover from the blow 
dealt them at Takkolam in 949-950 A.D. In 985, after thirty- 
five years of prostration and dynastic dissensions, Rajaraja I, 
the Great,' acceded to the Chola throne. In A.D. 997 the 
Ohalukj'a Taila died. This event afforded Rajaraja his opportu- 
nity, and in the following year he launched on one of the most 
remarkable campaigns known to history. He overran Gangavadi, 
Nolambavadi, (Bellary),^ Coorg, and Vengi, the capital of the 
Eastern Chalukyas. By his conquest of Vengi he put an end to 
a thirty years' period of anarchy, set up a king of the old Eastern 
Chalukya line, and shortly afterwards gave his daughter in marri- 
age to the Vengi Prince Vimaladitya, who afterwards became 
king. In 1002-3 A.D., he had subdued Ceylon, Quilon and 
Kalinga. In 1004 his army invaded the Deccan a second time, 
and his son Rajendra, the (^rown Prince, captured the Western 
Ganga capital of Talakad. His last recorded exploit was in 1013-4 
A.D,, and this is probably the year of his death. 

The history of the eleventh century is mainly a history of the 
duel between the Cholas and Western Chalukyas, the details of 
which do not concern Salem District Though Gangavadi 

1 Aa inscription at Liikshmeswar, in Dharwar District, gives liim the 
paramount title Paramesvara. 

2 Mummudi Chola D6va, King of Three Crowns, i.e., Three Kingdoms. 
Cf. /nd. ^n<., XXII. p. 65. 

' He could not keep it. It was feudatory to Vikramaditya V. 1009-11. A.D. 

fiisTORY. ;67 

changed hands several times, Chdla sovoreigaty in the District CHAP. II. 
probably remained undisturbed. At the end of the century IV. Chola 

honours were even between the two contending powers. ' 

For administrative purposes the Chola dominions ' were divided ChAla 
into six provinces callol mmdilams^ each of which comprised ^rationVn 
what was, prior to the conquest, an independent kingdom. Each the Jneventh 
nia'idalam app3ar3 to have been named after an Emperor who e"^'"^J' 
conquered it, or Viceroy whose rule over the province was 
specially distinguished'*; but the foreign names did not always 
displace the familiar traditional ' names. The six mandalamii were ; 

(1) Tondai-maudalam otherwise called Jayamgonda-Chola- 

mandalam, after Rajiidhiraja I. It comprised roughly 
the Pallava country, i.e., the East Coast plains from 
the Southern Pennaiyar to its northern namesake ; 

(2) Chola-mandalam, the Chola country proper (Tanjore 

and Triehinopoly) ; 

(3) Rajaraja-mandalam, the Pandya and part of the Kerala 

country (Madura, Tinnevelly, and Travanoore) ; 

(4) The Kongu country, otherwise called Adhirajaraja- 

mandalam or Chdla-Kerala-mandalam ; 

(5) Gangai-konda-Ch5la-mandalam, including the Western 

portion of the Granga country ; 

(6) Nigarili-Chola-mandalam, embracing the Eastern part of 

the Granga country, together with the Bana kingdom. 
The Northern part of Salem fell within Nigarili-Chola- 
mandalam, as is proved by inscriptions at Mallapuram* (near 
Palakodu), Tlrta-malai^ and Tiruppatttir.^ The Southern part of 
Salem District was included in Kongu. Kongu comprised the 
whole of Coimbatore District, as well as the Salem Talaghat, and 
was divided into three portions, North, "West and South Kongu. 
The southern limit of Northern Kongu was probably the Kaveri, 
the present District of Coimbatore falling within West and South 
Kongu. In the time of Eajendra I and Vira-Eajendra I, Kongu 
was known oiRcially as Adhirajaraja-mandalam ^ ; under Kulot- 
tunga III it was known as Ch51a-Kerala-mandalam, under 
Yikrama Chola as Vira-Ch51a-mandalam, a term which was 

* Exolasive of the Vengi country, which i-emained throughont a dependent 

* See Mr, S. Krishnaswami Ayyangar's Aiicient India, p. 174. Of., however, 
Mysore and Coorg from the Inscriptions, p. 8G, and Mysore Gazetteer, Vol. I, 
p. 333. The terms used wei-e frequently changed. 

* The Cholas also changed the name? of towns they conquered, e.g., Talakad 
beoame Rajarajapuram, but the new names did not acquire permanence. 

* G.E. No. 18 of 1900. » G.E. No. G70 of 1905. 

6 G.E, No. 2i3 of 1U09, ' SIX, Vol. Ill, page 31. 




17. Cndh\ 



The Twelfth 

Couqnest of 
by the 

continued under tlie Pandyan^ regime, and even into the time of 
Aohjnta Raya and Sadasiva.^ 

•Some mancfalams were in turn divided into kottams, and 
the koltams into ndds, but in Salem District it would seem the 
word kottam was rarely used, and the general term ndd was 
applied to both the larger and the smaller divisions. 'I^hus in an 
inscription at Kambaya-nallur,^ Puramalai-Nad is spoken of as a 
sub-division of Tagadai-Nad ; and in the Mallapuram iusoription* 
Tagadai-Nad is a sub-division of Gang a- Nad, which in turn is a 
sub-division of Nigarili-Chola-mandalara. The Adaiyur-Nad ia 
mentioned in an it)8cription of 'rirta-malai ^ and an Eyyil-Nad in 
one of Tiruppattur.^ 

In the Talaghat the inscriptions speak of the Kilkarai 
Pundurai-Nad / the Vada-Puvaniya-Nad,* the Elukarai-Nad,9 
and the Elur-Nad.^" 

The twelfth century witnessed the decline of the Chola Empire 
and the final ruin of that of Kalyani. In about 11 10 A.D., an 
event had taken place which was fraught with peril to both Cholas 
and Chalukyas. 

The Hoysala Ballalas were originally feudatories of the 
Western Ohalukyas, and their first capital was Beliir, in Hassan 
District of Mysore. 

In 1104 A.D. Bitti-Deva, better known as Vishnu- vardhaiia, 
succeeded to the chieftaincy." Himself an able soldier and states- 
man, he was ably supported by a general of Ganga stock called 
Ganga Eaja. There is a significance in the prominence of Ganga 
Eaja's claim to Ganga descent and his distinction as one of the 
three chief supporters of the Jain religion.^^ It shows that the 
movement he led was a patriotic and religious revolt. }lc estab- 
lished his capital at Halebid (Dorasamudra), and reduced Nolam- 
bavadi to obedience. But a richer prey awaited him. 

At the opening of the twelfth century, Gangavadi was Ch51a 
territory, in charge of the Adigaiman of Dharmapuri, The Chola 

^ See Tiruohengodu inscription (»f Juta>variaan Snndara.Pandya — G.E. No, 
682 of 1905, 

* The term is found in unpublished translations of G.E. No». 19, 21and 22 
of 1900 kindly supplied me by Mr. V. Venkayya. 

» G.E. No. » of 1900. * G.E. No. 18 of 1900. 

5 G.E. No. Ge2of 1905. Cf. G.E. No. 204- of 1909, and Eeport for 1010, 
p. 88. Cf. also J.K.A.S., 1911,p. 811. 

» G.E. No. 248 of 1909. ' G.E. No. G46 of 1905 (Tiruchengoda). 

8 G.E. Nos. 19, 22, and 27 of 1900 (Tara-mangalam). 

9 G.E. No. 21 of 1900 (Tara-mangalam). >" G.E. No 13 of 1900 (Namakkal). 
" Rice, page 337, Dr. Fleet gives as his earliest date 1117, his latest 1137 A.D, 
^* Chamundaraya, minister of Marasimha the Talakad Ganga, and Hulla, the 

minister of the Hoysala Narasimha I. 

fliSTORV. 59 

riilo was not popular. Tho Cholas woro foroijj^nors, and out of CHAlMI. 
sympathy with tho pooplo. Thoy had ruthlossly destroyed the V. Hoysala 

Jain temples and trampled iipon tho local religion. Tho fruit was ' 

ripo for piekin«^. Vishnu-vardhana invaded Gangavadi, routed 
tho Chola Governor at Talakad, and captured the ancient Ganga 

Ostorsibly tho Iloysala conquest of Gangavadi was under- 
taken on behalf of Vishnu-vardhana's Chalukya suzerain. 
But Vishnu-vardhana proved himself a formidable vassal, and tho 
precedent ho sot was dangerous. Ho claims to have captured 
Kolilr, sacked Koyatur ^ and overrun Kongu. There is no reason 
to discredit those claims, though in other respects the language of 
his inscriptions indulges in hyperbole. There is, however, no 
evidence that he effected a foothold in tho Baramahal or Talaghat. 
He does not claim to have descended the Salem or North Arcot 
Ghats, and probably his operations wore confined to Western 
Kongu. The Ch5la authority in Northern Kongu and the Baxa- 
mahal apparently remained undisturbed for another century. 

The immediate successors ^ of Kul5ttunga I are better War of 

known as patrons of literature than as warriors. Vikrama-Chola, £^n<3jan 

^ . . . . ' Succession. 

Kulottunga s son, whoso namo appears m an inscription at 

Kambaya-nallur, appears to have maintained tho prestige of Chola 

rule. In the reign of Eajadhiraja II (1171-86), however, the 

Cholas became involved in a war between rival claimants to the 

ancient Pandyan throne which lasted two generations, and at one 

time threatened the very existence of the Ch51a power.^ Eajendra 

Chola I had set up a member of his own house as ruler of the 

Pandyas, and this line became known as " Chola-Pandyas." By 

the middle of the twelfth century these Chola-Pandyas had died 

out, and the throne was claimed by rivals of the old Pandya stock. 

Tho Chola dominions were invaded by the Singhalese, and though 

in the end Kulottunga III was able to expel the invaders, and set 

his nominee, Vikrama- Pandya, on the Pandyan throne, the 

re-establishment of the Pandyan kingdom was fatal to tho Chola 


^ Koyatur has been identified with Coimbatore, but more probablj it should 
be identified with a place known as Ijaddigam in the PunganOr Zamindari, which 
is called Koyatui in ancient inscriptions. 

2 Vikrama Chola (1118-1135), Kulottunga II (1123-li4<i), Rajaraja 11 (1146- 
1163), Rajadhiraja II (11G3-1181), Kulottunga III (1178-1217), Eajaraja III 
(1216-1248), Rajendra III (1246-12GS). The initial dates of each ruler are those 
astronomically verified by Prof. Kielhorn ; the terminal dates are based on the 
last regnal years as yet available from epigrapliic records. See JEp. Ind. IX, 
p. 209 seq. 

8 See G.B. 1899. paras. 23, sq. 



CHAP. 11. 


of Dbarma- 

That the decline was appreciated by the Chola fendatorios is 
evident from coutemporary history of the Adigaimans of Tagadtjr, 
the modern Dharmapuri. The princes of Tagadur vverc known 
for many generations by the title of Adiyama or Adigaiman.* 
Who the early Adigaimans were is not known. In the Tamil 
Periya-Puranam an Adigan is said to have fought against the 
Ch5la King— Pugal Ch5la^ In the Pandya grant of Jatilavarman 
Nedunjadaiyan, one Adiyan fonght against the Pilndiyan king at 
Ayiraveli, Ayirur and Pugal iyur, and both Pal lavas and Koralas 
are said to have been his allies. A Chera king, known from 
Tamil literature, claimed to have conquered his capital Tagadfir. 

When Vishnu-vardhana drove the Cholas from Talakad,^ it 
would appear that the Adigaimau of Tagadtir was Governor both of 
Gangavadi and of Nigarili-Chola-mandalam. In the twentieth year 
of Kulottunga III (c. 1 198 A.D.) the " Lord of Takata " (Tagadur) 
was one Vidukadalf^iya-Perumal, son of Eajaraja-Adhika (Adi- 
gaiman), alias Vagan. Vidukadalagiya-Perumal claims to have 
been descended from one Elini, a scion of the family of the kings 
of Chera.* An inscription of his at Kambaya-nallur,* dated 1 199- 
1200 A.D., describes him as ruling over the three rivers — Piili, 
Pennai and Ponni (Palar, Pennaiyar and Kaveri). But the most 
significant records oonaeoted with him are two political compacts 
discovered at Chengam. One of these,^ dated in the 20th year of 
Kulottunga III, is an agreement between two chiefs ^ in which one 
Sambuvarayan undertakes that (1) as long as he and the other 
party to the compact lives, they shall be faithful to each other ; (2) 
in case alliance or hostility has to be declared by either with 
Piranda-Perumal, son of Eajaraja Adigan, it shall be done with 
the approval of the other ; (3) he (Sambuvarayan) will not join the 
enemies of the other party, neither will ho enter into transactions 
hostile to the interests of the other party. The second compact ^ 
appears to be a sequel to the first, and Yidukadalagiya-Penimal is a 
party to it along with the two chiefs mentioned in the first. In it he 
declares that (1) as long as the other two chiefs continue faithful to 
him he will be true to them ; (2) their enemies shall be his 

* In Ep. Ind., VI, p. 331, it is stated that Adigai =: Tiruvftdi near Cuddalore 
and that Adigaiman = " Lord of Adigai." 

' Ind. Ant, XXII, pp. 06 and 73. ' Supra p. 59. 

* See Inscription of Tirumalai near Polur, edited in Ep. Ind., vi, p. 331 ; cf . 
EJ.I., Vol. I, p. 106. 

* See G.E. No. 8 of 1900 ; of. Ep. Ind., vi, p. 332. 
« G.E. No. 11.5 of 1900 ; G.E. 1900, p. 13. 

' Their names are Karikala-Sola-Adaiyftr-Nftdalvan and Sengeni-Ammaiyap 
pan-Attimallan alias Vikrama-Sola-SambuTarayan. 

* G.E. No. 107 of 1900. 



enemies ; (3) his eueraies shall be their enemies ; (4) he will form 
no alliance with oortaiu other chiefs. It is clear from these 
reoords that the Lord of Takata was virtually au independent 
prince, though owing /a nominal allegiance to Kulottunga III, and 
they indicate au atmosphere of political lawlcssuess and treachery 
oousisteut only with the growing rottenness of the Chola power. 

Meanwhile disaster had overtaken the Chalukyas of Kalyani. 
The historj' of the short-lived Kalachurya Dynasty (1155-83 
A.D.), aud the persecution of the Liugayat sect, the brief revival 
of the Chalukyas and the final partition of their territory between 
the Yadavas of Dovagiri under Bhillama, ami the Boysalas of 
Dorasamudra under Ballala II, a grandson of Vishnu- vardhana, 
do not immediately concern Salem District. In 1191 Ballala II 
assumed the titles of a paramount sovereign, and by 1196 A.D. 
the Hoysala Empire was firmly established. 

The history of the thirteenth century resolves itself into a duel 
between Hoysalas and Pandyas. Kulottunga III died about 1215 
A.D.. and was succeeded by his son Kajaraja III (1216-1248). In 
1216 Maravarman Sundara-Pandj a I^ ascended the Pandyan 
throne. In about 1220 the Hojsala Ballala II gave place 
to his sou Narasimha 11.^ Already by 1213 A.D., the Hoysalas 
had been driven from their northern territories by the warlike 
Yadava Singhana. Taking the line of least resistance, Narasimha 
II extended his dominions southwards, and adopted the policy of 
propping up the tottering Chola power. It is known that Vira- 
S5mesvara, son of the reigning Hoysala Narasimha II, was in 
Coimbatore by 1224, and that a year later Narasimha II recognised 
Eajaraja III as overlord. By 1224^ the Hoysalas had established 
a capital at Kanuantir, within five miles of Srirangam. This was a 
strategic move. Maravarman Sundara-Pandya I claims to have 
burnt Tanjore and Uraiyur aud " presented the Chola country/' 
Narasimha II claims that "like a thunderbolt he cleft open the 
rock that was the Pandya King.^ " This suggests that the 
Hoysalas interfered in a civil war among the Chola s, and 
reinstated Pajaraja III after he had been temporarily ousted by a 
rival claimant who owed his elevation to the Pandyas.^ 

V. Hoysala 


Collapse of 
the KalyAni 

Ballala II. 


1 See G.E. 1906, para. 27. 

» An inscription of Narasimha II has boon found at Adaman-kottai, dated 
1234 A.D. (G.E. No. 201 of 1910). 

' Cx.E. Report for 1910-1911, p. 81. Of. Ep. Ind., vii, p, 162. 

* This is in an inscription at Harihar in Mysore dated 1224. 

5 G.E., 1900, paragraphs 29 and 30. It is inferred that one Tikka, a Teluga 
Chola, from the North, and the Ganapati of Orissa took part in the war. It is 
also conjectured that Rajgndra Chola III may have been a rival claimant, but 
the history of the period is obscure. 



V. HoYsAr.A 


Bat Eajaraja III was to suffer another unpleasant experience. 
A Chola feudatory, Peruujinga by name, who claimed Pallava 
descent, and adopted the title " Lord of all the earth," rose 
suddenly against his overlord, and, with the help of the Singhalese, 
seized his person. Narasimha, who was in his capital Dorasamudra 
at the time, marched to the rescue, defeated and captured the 
rebel, reinstated the imprisoned Chola and adopted the title 
" Establisher of the Ch5la Kingdom." ^ These events took place 
prior to the year 1231-2 A.D. 

In 1233-4 A.D., Narasimha II died, and was succeeded by 
Vira-Somesvara. This monarch maintained his ground, and lived 
on peaceful terms with the reigning Pandya, Maravarman Sundara- 
Pandya II (1238-51), acknowledging him as overlord.^ On the 
death of Maravarman came a change. His successor Jatavarman- 
Sundara-Pandya I (1251-12G1), who claims to have " conquered 
all countries," drove Vira-S5mosvara out of the Chola territory.^ 
It is doubtful, however, whether he made himself master of the 
Salem Talaghat.* 

Vira- Somes vara appears to have died about 1254 A.D., and 
shortly after, the Hoysala Empire was divided between his two 
sons ;^ Narasimha III received as his portion the greater part of 
what is now Mysore, Vira-Ramanatha succeeded to the remainder, 
and fixed his capital apparently at Kundani to protect the " Army 
Eoad " from the Baramahal to Kolar.^ Eecords of Narasin\ha 
have been found dated 1293 A.D., and the latest record of Vira- 
Ramanatha is dated in his forty-first year (1295 A.D.).^ The 

* This title was also adopfcecl by Vlra-Ssmesvara. An inscription of Raja- 
raja III (G.E. No. 208 of 1910) has been found afc Adaman-kottai dated 1241 
A.D., six 3'eais later thau that of Narasimha II above referrec to (G.E. No. 1 
of 1010) i and at the same place is an inscription of SouiCsvara dated 12J7 A.D. 

- G.E., 1900, paragraph 13 of G.E., 1907, p. G9, where Somosvara is spoken 
of as uncle (or father in-law) of Maravarman II. Cf. also G.E. Nos. 138 and ir>C) 
of 1894. 

* In 12G1-5 it is certain that Kannanur was in Pandyan possession. See 
G.E . 1905, p. 5.5. 

* See G.E., 190G, paragraph 27, where »»onie of the inscriptions of Jata- 
varman-Sundara-Pandya discovered at Tiriiohengodu are tentatively assigned 
to the first king of that name. If this assumption is correct, it f(dlow8 that 
Konga was reconquered by the Hoysalas nnder Vira-Ramanatha, and that a 
second Pandyan conquest took place under Jatavarman-Sundara- Pandya II. The 
point is not yet clear from the records, but in view of Ep. Ind., vi, p. 310 eeq., 
the Tiruchengodu inscript'ons sh )uid more probably be attributed to Jatavarman 
Sundara- Pandya II, along with those of Tara-mangalam. 

* G.E. Report for 1910 " Vira- Ra;naoatha succeeded to the throne in Saka 
1177 ( = A.D. 1255) apparently during tiio lifetime of his father." 

" Infra, s. v. Kundani ani cf. Ep. Cam., Vol. x, Kolar. p. XXXII. 
' Ep. Gam., Vol. X, Kolar, p. XXXI 1, (Bowringpet) No. 25 (a). 



territorios of tho latter were extensive, for his records have been chap. Ii 

foTind fiom Trichhiopoly District ( 1262 A.D.)' to Bellary (1275-7);-^ V. Hoy8ai,a 

and the whole of Salem District seems to have come under his pkricd. 

rule, as his inscriptions are found in Tara-mangalam (12(58 and 

1274 A.D.), Eaya-kota^ and Adaman-kottai ^ (1260 A.D.), while 

those of his son and successor Vira-Visvanatha, who reigned for 

about four ' or five years only, have been found at Kambaya- 

nalliir,* Kundani and 1'iruppattur (1288).^ The history of this 

period is obscure. There is reason to believe that, towards the 

close of Eamanatha's reign, an effort was made to extend his 

authority over the portion of the Hoysala territories that did not 

belong to him. But the attempt was not successful, for by the end 

of the century the whole Hoysala Empire was re-united under 

Ballala III, son of Eamanatha's rival brother Narasimha III. 

Meanwhile, in tho south, the Pandyas had been steadily encroach- 
ing on the Hoysala possessions. The fiction of Chola rule was for a 
time preserved under Eajondra III (1246-67), and then it vanished. 
In 1268 Maravarman Kulasekhara I succeeded to the Pandyan 
throne, and he continued to reign till 1308. He has been identi- 
fied with the " Kales Devar " of Muhammadan writers. In 1 275 
Jatavarman-Sundara Pandya II was ruling, apparently as a 
coregent,^ and he continued till at least 1290. There is every 
probability that he was the " Sender Bandi" of Marco Polo, who 
touched on the Coromandel Coast in 1292, and that he was the real 
conqueror of the Salem Talaghat, who left his inscriptions at Tara- 
mangalam and Tiruchengodu.^ 

1 G.E. No. 597 of 1902 (Aubil) and 542 of 1905 (Tiruvellarai). 

» G.E. Nos. 33 and 34 of 1904, from Kogali in Bellary District. 

» G.E. Nos. 20, 26 and 29 of 1900. 

* G.E. Nc. 202 of 1910. * Nos. 9 and 10 of 1900. 

« No. 250 of 1909. Cf. Ep. Cam x, p. XXXII, inscription of Visvanatha at 
Kurubur in Chitamani Taluk (Ct 45). 

' Marco Polo desoribes the province of Malabar as divided between five 
kings, all brothers, who were constantly afc war with each other. His acconnt 
is strongly corrobora.ted by Muhammadaa writers. See Yule's Marco Polo, II, 
p. 331 sq. (ed. 1903). 

8 See Ep. Ind., v, p. 310 sq. G.E. Nos. 23, 24, 25, 30 of 1900, 622, 
G42 and 644 of 1905 and No. 5 of 1900. The boundary between Hoysala and 
Pandya during the latter half of the Thirteenth Century fluctuated in a most 
perplexing manner. The Pan-Jyan Kings of this perif^d are thus dated by 
Professor Kielhorn in Ep. Ind., Vol. ix, pp. 226-229 :— 

1. Jatavarman Kulaafikhara .. ... ... 1190-1216. 

2. Maravarman Sundara-Pandja I ... 1216-1235. 

3. Maravarman Sundara-Pandyii II ... 1238-9 to 1251. 

4. Jatavarman Sandara-Pandya I ... ... 1251-1261. 

5. Vira-Paudya 1252-3 to 1267. 

6. Maravarman Kulasekhara I ... ... 12S8-1308, 

7. Jatavarman Sundara-Pandya II ... 1275-6 to 128rt. 

8. Maravarman Kulasekhara II 1314-1325. 

64 SALEM. 

CHAP. II. At the opening' of the fourteenth century South India was divided 

V. HoYSAi-A among four states, all about equally powerful. To the north- 

' west the Yadavas of Devagiri guarded the line of the Nermada, to 

The Muham- the north- east the Kakatiyas of Warangal barred invasion from 
clysm. ' * Bengal or the Central Provinces. In a second line of defence lay 
the Hoysalas of Dorasamudra. South of them lay the Pandyas. 
Till 1293 A.D., no Muhammadan ruler had ventured across 
the Vindhya mountains. In that year began the series of raids 
that carried the Muhammadan armies to Eamesvaram, and by 
1310 A.D., every one of the four South Indian Empires was ruined 
beyond retrieve. Every flicker of independence was mthlossly 
stamped out by the armies of Mnlik Kaffir, Mubarak, and the 
Tughlaks Giyas-ud-din and Muhammad. But the Moslem 
conquest was not permanent.^ Under Muhammad Tughlak the 
terrors of Islam began to wane. The Hindus at last learned the 
folly of discord. Out of the ashes of the southern kingdoms rose 
the Empire of Vijayanagar,'-^ and for nearly two centuries and a 
half the Hindus wore able to present a united front against 
Muhammadan aggression. 
71. ViJA- The early years of the First or Sangama Dynasty of Vijaya- 

First or' nagar were years of war with Muhammad Tughlak, and, after 1347 

Sangama A.D., with the Babmaui Sultans of Gulbarga. In 1365-60, 
ynas y. however, Bukka I turned his attention to the south, and sent his 
son, Kampauna Udaiyar, or Kampa II, to overthrow the Muham- 
madan Sultanate of Madura. Sometime prior to 1384, Ilarihara 
II sent his sou Virupaksha on an expedition to the south, and this 
prince claims victories over the kings of Tondai-mandalam, the 
Ch51as, the Pandyas and Ceylon. One or other of these campaigns 
must have brought Salem District under the sway of Vijayanagar. 
The earliest inscriptions of this dynasty yet discovered in the 
District are those of Immadi-Bukka,^ son of Ilarihara II, who 
eventually succeeded his father as Bukka II. Thoy are dated 
1386-7 A.D. Two inscriptions of Vijaya Bhupathi * and one of 
Deva-Baya II ^ have been found at Ttrta-malai. 

^ Ballala III, however, appears to hftvo maintained n shadow of sovereignty 
first at Tonddiiur, or Toimur, near P'rench Rocks in Mysore District, and 
afterwards, till 1842, at Tiruvannan)alai. 

* The City of Vijayanagar was founded iii 133C. 

3 G.E. No. 11 of 1900, (Kambaya-npllur), nnd G.K. No. 6G4 of 1905 

* No8. 658 and 669 of 1905, dated respectively 1409 and 1411 A.D. In the 
latter Vijaya Bhupatlii is called Udaiyar, As he was not reigning ai the time, 
he must have been a provincial Governor under his father DSva-Raya I. 

5 No. 666 of 1905 dated 1428-9. Deva-Baya is calle.i Udaiyar; as he was 
reigaing at the time, the reason for the use of this title is not clear. 


Deva-Baya II died some time after 1450-1 A.D.^ The events CHAP. il. 
of the uoxt half coutnry are not easy to unravel. The latest VI. VfjAvx- 
known date of the First Dynasty is 1486-7 A.D. Between the '^:^^^ 
death of Deva-Kaya and this date at least four names occur. It Kevoiution 
is not certain whether these names refer to two persons or four 
or more.^ The one certain fact of this period is that the ruling 
Kings were men of poor capacity, and that under them the 
PJmpire deteriorated. But there was at least one capable ruler in 
the State, of the Saluva family, which traced its descent from 
Yadu, and claimed relationship with the royal family of Vijaya- 
nagar. One of the family, ISaluva Mangu, had done yeoman 
service for Kampa II in his expedition against the Sultan of 
Madura. Mangu's great-grandson Narasimha rose to great power 
during the latter half of the fifteenth century. His dominions 
comprised the whole of North Aroot, Ohingleput and Nellore, with 
parts of South Arcot, Cuddapah, Kistna and Mysore. Further, the 
war against the Bahmani Sultan, Muhammad Shah II (1463-82), 
who penetrated at this period to Malur in Mysore, and to Conjee- 
veram, was conducted on behalf of the Emperor by this powerful 
Saluva chief. Saluva Narasimha was well served during this 
period by his General, Isvara " of the Tulu family." The reigning 
Monarch became so hopelessly imbecile, that Narasimha decided 
that nothing but a change of rulers could prevent the Empire 
falling a prey to its hereditary foes, the Sultans of Gulbarga. 
With the consent of the chief ministers and generals of the state 
he accordingly seized the throne himself, and allowed the king to 
escape. The date of this usurpation cannot, at present, be fixed. 
It must have taken place between 1486-7 and 1495-6 A.D. 
Saluva Narasimha had not enjoyed the royal power long before 
he died. He left two young sons, and appointed as regent the 
son of his old officer Isvara, by name Narasa Nayak. The eldest 
son was murdered by an enemy of Narasa Nayak, to bring odium 
on the regent.^ This act forced Narasa Nayak about 1501-2 A.D. to 
assume the supreme authority. The Saluva's sou, Immadi Nara- 
simha, was deposed from the throne and allowed to reign, as a 
petty Haja, at Penukonda ; ^ the regent Narasa Nayak founded the 

1 G.E., 1904, para. 22. 

2 The names given by Mr. Sowell are, (1) Mallikarjuna, (2) Eajasokhara, 
(3) Virupaksha, (4) Praudha Deva Eaya. 

Of these, Mallikarjuna and Virupakeha arc the most prominent. The first 
has dates ranging from 1449-50 to 1462-3 A.D. (vide G.E., 1906, para. 47) 
Virupaksha's inscriptions range between 1469 and 1478. The name RajasSkhara 
occurs in 1468-9 and .1486-7. In the present stare of epigraphy it is hardly 
possible to solve the riddle. 

3 G.E., 1906, para. 58. * See Ep. Ind., vii, p. 74, 






The Third or 




Third or Tuluva Dynasty of Vijayanagar. He was suooeeded by 
his eldest son Vira Narasimha, who, after a short reign gave place 
to his younger brother, Krishna-Deva-Eaya, the greatest of all the 
Vijayanagar Emperors. This double revolution did not seriously 
disturb the civil administration of the Empire. An interesting 
inscription at Buddi-Eeddi-patti ^ appears to refer to the infant 
son of Saluva Narasimha, under the name of Tammaya Deva- 
Maharaja, and speaks of Narasa Nayaka as his agent. 

While these events were in progress in the Hindu State, the 
Bahmini Empire was subverted, and its place was taken by the 
five kingdoms of the Deccan, which played an important r61e in 
the sixteenth century.^ 

Under the Third Dynasty the history of Salem was as unevent- 
ful as under the Eirst. An inscription of Krishua-Dova-Efiya the 
Grreat has been found at Indur, ^ west of Dharmapuri, and another 
at Tirachengodu.* The latter records an assignment of market- 
tolls for the upkeep of certain festivals. Two inscriptions of 
Achyuta-Raya have been found at Tara-inangalam. Of those,* 
one records a grant of the proceeds of certain taxes for the upkeep 
of a niQiam, the other ^ a private grant of a village for the mainte- 
nance of a temple. His successor Sadasiva was a mere puppet in 
the hands of his minister Eama-raja. An inscription of his reign 
has been found at Kari-mangalam ^ and another at Tara- 

In 1565 A.D., the glory of Vijayanagar was laid in the dust 
by the combined armies of the Deccan Sultans,^ on the field of 
Talikota. The capital was given over to pillage for five months 
and ceased to exist. The catastrophe was sudden and unexpected. 
It plunged South India into the most terrible anarchy known to 

^ G.E., 165 of 1905, vide G.E., 1905, para. 44. 

2 Imad Shahs of Birar 1484^-1572. 

Adil Sliahs of Bijapur 1489-1686. 

Ninam Shahs of Ahmadnagar 1490-1626. 

Barld Shahs of Bldar 1492-1609. 

Qutb Shahs of Golconda 1512-1688. 

»G.E. No. 13 of 1900. 
* G.E.No. 651of 1905. 

6 G.E. No. 21 of 1900 (No. 3 of Mr. Sewell's Lists, Vol. I, p. 200), dated 
1541-2 A.D. 

« G.E. No. 28 of 190C, dated 1539-40 A.D. 
^ G.E. No. 5 of 1900. 

8 G.E. No. 27 of 1900 (No. 5 of Mr. Sewell's Lists, Vol. I, page 201). 
Gift of a village by one of the Mudalis of Tflra-mangalara to a temple called 
Bama Kudal. 

9 Hnssain Nizam Shah of Ahniadnagar, Ali Adil Shah of Bijapnr, Ibrahim 
Qutb Shah of Golconda and Kasim Barld Shah II of Bjdar, 


history, an anarchy only terminated by the storm of Seringa pa- CRAP. II. 
tam in 1799 A.D. v^n. 1565- 

The immediate effect of Talikdta was the razing of the Imperial ' 

City, and the flight of Tirumala, with the puppet king Sadasiva, After 
to Penukonda. A rot faineant at such a time was grave danger, ^ ' ^' 
and if any relics of imperial power were to be saved, the removal 
of Sadasiva was a political necessity. Hence after 1569-70 
A.D. Sadasiva disappears, and Tirumala becomes Emperor. 

The truncated Empire about this time was divided into six 
viceroyalties — 

(1) Andhra. (3) Madura. (5) Gingee. 

(2) Karnata. (4) Chandragiri. (6) Tanjore. 

The Andhra or Telugu districts round Penukonda were ruled 
directly by the Emperor. In 1575 A.D. Tirumala died. His 
eldest (?) son, Ranga II, succeeded him at Penukonda ; another son, 
Rama III, was entrusted with the Viceroyalty of Karnata with 
head-quarters at Seringapatam, and a third son, Venkata I, ruled 
in Madura. As a matter of form, the ruler at Penukonda was 
regarded as Emperor, but his authority over the other two vice- 
royalties varied according as his personality was strong or weak. 
This quasi-partition of the Empire marks the lines of political 
cleavage during the seventeenth century, which is in the main a 
record of the struggle between Mysore and Madura, with a 
shadowy Raya flitting from place to place in spasmodic efforts at 
piecing together the shattered Empire of his ancestors. 

The time was ripe for military adventurers. The members of Dissolution. 
the imperial house quarrelled among themselves. Viceroys and 
local chieftains carved out principalities on their own behalf. 
Bagalur and Ankusagiri, Hosur and Denkani-kota, Salem and 
Amara-kundi became the capitals of princelings, while the Jaga- 
deva Rajas of Chennapatna ruled the Baramahal and a large 
strip of the Mysore plateau stretching to the Western Ghats- 
These lesser principalities, however, were soon eclipsed by the 
rising states of Mysore and Madura. 

The rule of Rama III at Seringapatam was weak, and the local ^^ ^^^^ '^^ 
chieftains rebelled. On Rama's death, his young son Tirumala li 
was sent to Madura, to the care of his uncle Venkata I, and Seringa- 
patam was left in charge of a vice-regent. In 1586 A.D. Ranga II of 
Penukonda died, and the whole Empire passed to Venkata I. The 
young nephew Tirumala II thereupon proceeded to Seringapatam, 
and assumed an attitude of hostility to his imperial uncle. This 
coolness led directly to the taking of Seringapatam by Raja Odejar 
of Mysore, whose act was countenanced by Venkata I, and whose 
actual possession was confirmed by the Eaya in 1612 A.D. 




VII. 15G5 - 

(2) Rise 




PoligaiB of 
t.he Marches. 

Eaja Odeyar next began systematically to absorb the terri- 
tories of the Poligars to the south and east, and encroached ex- 
tensively on the possessions of Jagadeva Raya, which lay to the 
north. His grandson Chania Eaja (1617-37 A.D.), by the con- 
quest of Chennapatna after a series of Bijapur invasions, 
completed the expulsion of Jagadeva Raya's house from what is 
now Mysore territory. 

The rise of the Madura Nayakas began in 1559 A.'D. with 
Visvanatha's victory over his rebel father on behalf of the Vijaya- 
nagar Emperor. Visvanatha's^ vioeroyalty lasted till 1563, and 
under the guidance of his able minister Aryanatha, passed to his 
descendants. Aryanatha died in 1600 A.D. The infant Raj 
grew steadily in strength, and reached its zenith under the Great 
Timmala Nayaka, who acceded in 1623 A.D. 

Tirumala Nayaka had a difficult game to play, and ho played 
it ably and unscrupulously. The empty fiction of imperial suze- 
rainty was no longer consistent with a strong centralised govern- 
ment. The Madiu-a frontier was already in hostile contact with 
the growing kingdom of Mysore. Chama Raja was chafing to 
revenge a reverse his arras had recently suffered. In the north 
loomed the cloud of Mughal invasion. So long as the energies of 
the Decoan Sultans wore absorbed in the Mughal war, the Hindu 
kingdoms were safe from their inroads. Tmmediately the 
pressure was relaxed, the fighting Siiltans must inevitably seek 
compensation for their losses by the invasion and pillage of South 
India. Tirumala adopted and perfected the policy of his prede- 
cessors for the defence of his northern frontier. 

The power of the Nayakas was establialied in a frankly feudal 
basis. " There were 72 bastions to the fort of Madura, and each 
of them was now formally placed in charge of a particular chief, 
who was bound for himself and his heirs to keep his post at all 
times and under all circumstances. He was also bound to pay a 
fixed annual tribute, to supply and keep in readiness a quota of 
troops for the Governor's armies, and to keep the Governor's 
peace over a particular tract of oountiy; and in consideration of 
his promise to perform these and other services, a grant was 
made to him of a tract of country." Among the seventy-two 
chief Poligars of the Madura feudal system were Rftmaohaudra 
Nayaka and Gatti Mudaliyar of Kongu. 

Each of those names is that of a line of Poligars, rather than 
of an individual. For instance, Robert de' Nobili found a Rama- 
chandra Nayaka established at Senda-mangalam in 1623. The 
horoscope of another of these Ramachaudra Nayakas came into 

* Mr. Nelaon's Madura Manual, p. 


the hands of Colonel Mackenzie, from which it appears he was CHap. IT. 
born in October 1652 aad died in 1718^. The name is associated Vil. 1565- 
with Talai-malai, a hill overlooking the Kavori in the south of 
Naniakkal Tnluk^ and the Namakkal fort is said to have been l)uilt 
by a prince of the line. 

T^he Gatti Mndaliyars reded in power and splendour the most 
dangerously exposed province of the kingdom, Kaveri-puram, on 
the rig-it bank of the Kavori. was their strategic capital, command- 
ing, as it docs, one of the principal passes to the Mysore Plateau. 
The centre of their power seems, however, to have been Taia-manga- 
1am, whore tlicy built a costly temple. It is said that their 
dominions extended as far as Talai-vasal to the east, Dliarapuram 
in the west, and Karur in the south^. The forts of greatest 
strategic importance held by tliem in Salem District were 
Omalur and Attur. A glance at the map will show that the dis- 
position of these forts guarded against an invasion from Mysore, 
Kaveri-puram guarded the foot of the only ghat at which tho 
Madura dominions touched Mysore^. Omalur served as apointe 
tVap'pui against any force proceeding by the routes through 
Q^oppur or Perumbalai. In this quarter the petty Poligars of 
Denkani-kota, Ratuagiri, Alambadi, etc., intervened between the 
two great rivals, Attur commanded the shortest route to the 
coast, and guarded against any flank move on Trichinopoly by 
way of the Vellar valle3^ The Gratti Mndaliyars are also asso- 
ciated with Amara-kundi, Saukaridrug, Tiruchengodu, Mecheri^ 
Idauga-salai, and Ptilampatti.^ Salem itself appears, at least 
during part of the seventeenth century, to have been ruled by an 
independent Poligar, Cheimappa Nayaka, whose name tradition 
also connects with Tenkarai-kottai^, 

The opening of hostilities between Mysore and Madura is '^^^ Madnra- 
obscure for want of accurate dates and synchronisms. It would ^^^^^ 
appear that early in Tirumala Nayaka's reign, Coimbatore was 
invaded by Chama Eaja, who penetrated as far as Dindigul, and 
was there checked by Tirumala's able general Eamappayya, The 

^ Mackenzie Manuscripts, I, 79, 

^Another account gives Eraya-mangalam (in Kokkarayanpet Mitta, 9 miles 
S.W. of Tii-uchengodu, on the Kaveri), as the fiouthern limit of their dominions 
and Andiyur, in Bliavani Taluk, as the wtstern boundary. 

^ Buchanan, Vol. I, p. 422, speaks of Kaveri-puram as an important outpost, 
with two outlying forts, Nadu-kaval and Chikka-kaval which protected it from 
the aggi-essions of the Hill Poligars. 

* For further details regarding the Gatti Mudaliyars, see below, Vol. II, 
pp. 259 and 264, s.v. Amara-kundi, and Tara-mangalam. Cf, p. 95, s.v. Eobort 

* Cf, Vol. II, pp, 228 and 250, and the suggested identification of the Mora- 
mangalam of Robert de'Nobili with Mara-mangalam, p. 95, n. 2, 




VII. 1565- 

Bijapur and 






Madura army then took the offensive, and drove the Mysore troops 
up the Ghats, storming one of their principal fortresses. The 
quaiTel then assumed a new aspect, with the sudden intervention 
of the Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda. 

In 1634 A..D. the Mughals (under Shah Jahan) captured 
Ahmadnagar and ended the dynasty of the Nizam Shahs. The 
Sultan of Bijapur made his peace with the Mughals, and then 
arranged with the Sultan of Golconda to conquer the Caruatic. 
They had been invited south by several Hindu princes, who 
solicited their aid in finally throwing off the yoke of Vijaya- 
nagar.^ About 1635 A.D., a new Eaya, Eanga, ascended the 
throne and determiued to revive the authority of his house. Tiru- 
mala Nayaka formed a league against him, which the Nayakas 
of Tanjore and Ginjee joined. The only State which remained 
loyal to the Kaya was Mysore. When the Eaya marched against 
him, Tirumala invited the Sultan of Golconda to attack the 
Ohandragiri territory from the north. The Ray a countermarched 
to meet his new enemy, was routed, and took refuge with the 
Nayaka of Ikkeri (North Mysore). The Golconda army then 
marched south to reduce the rebels who had so rashly invoked its 
aid, and laid siege to Ginjee. Tirumala then asked the Bijapur 
Sultan to help him. When the Bijapur troops arrived at Ginjee, 
they at once joined with their fellow Muhammadans. Ginjee fell ; 
Tirumala lost heart, and purchased peace by becoming their 
humble feudatory. The date of these events is uncertain. The 
war was apparently over by 1644 A.D. 

Meanwhile the main army of Bijapur had been otherwise em- 
ployed. In 1636 an expedition started under Kandhula Khan, 
with Shahji (Sivaji's father) as second in command. After raid- 
ing the country near Bednur, the invaders appeared in 1638 
before Seringapatam, where, after a political revolution, Kantirava 
Narasa Raja had been placed on the throne by the Dalavay, 
(Commander-in-Chief). The new king was no puppet ; he beat 
off the assaults delivered by the Muhammadans, and the siege was 
raised. The invaders then turned cast, took Bangalore from the 
Poligar, Kempc Gauda, and reduced the north and east of what 
is now Mysore State. In the course of this campaign the Bara- 
mahal was made subject to Bijapur, and, by 1644 A.D., the new 
conquests were formed into two Provinces (Carnatic-Balaghat 

^ Wilks, i, p. 65. It is "stated in Hindu Manuscripts that they were 
invited by several of the usurpers who, under the title of Naiks, Rajas, Udayars, 
Politrars and even Gouds of single villages, had erected separate principalities 
and foolishly hoped to preserve or extend them by the aid of foreign force." 

ttlStORt. 71 

aud Cariiatic-Payinghat) and bestowed as ajaghir on Sliabji, who CHAr. II. 
fixed his head- quarters at Bangalore.^ vii.^ises- 

Later on (the date again is uncertain) the Raya, aided bj _^ ' 

Mysore, made one'last attempt to recover his authority. Tirumala 
threw open to the Muharamadans the passes into Mysore which he 
commanded, aud the last flicker of the great Hindu Empire was 

Kantirava Narasa Eaja adopted the policy of appropriating Kantirava 
territory whenever he could do so with impunity. According to ^ayasa 
Wilks, he took several places in Coimbatore from Gatti Mudaliyar 
in 1641 A.D. Six years later, he seized Eatnagiri from one Itibal 
Rao, and in 1652 he was strong enough to take from Bijapur the 
Western Baramahal, including Virabhadradrug, Pennagaram, 
and Dharmapuri. In the same year he took Denkani-kota from 
the Itibal Eao, from whom he had wrested Ratnagiri. In 1653 
he again raided Coimbatore, and took several important fortresses 
from the Madura feudatory. In the next year, Hosur was taken 
from one Chandra Sankar. 

The reigns of Kantirava Narasa Raja and Tirumala Nayaka 
closed in 1659 A.D, with one of the most vindictive wars on record. 
The ofiensive was taken by the Mysoreans> who threatened Madura 
itself. The invaders were then driven back, and the Madura 
historians claim that Mysore was invaded, its king captured and 
his nose cut oil in revenge for the cruelty of the Mysoreans, who 
had cut off the noses of all their captives.^ 

From 1659 Madura declined and Mysore grew powerful. The Ascendency 
latter State was ruled in turn by two capable men, Dodda Deva ^* MysoJ'e. 
Eaja (1659-1672) and Chikka Deva Eaja (1672-1704). In the 
reign of the first named, the latter repulsed a desperate attack 
made on Erode by Tirumala's successor, Chokkanatha Nayaka of 
Madura, in combination with the Nayaka of Ginjee and Yenkoji 
of Tanjore in 1667. The raid ended in total failure, and Dodda 
Deva Eaja wrested Erode and Dharapuram from the Nayaka, 
and Omalur from Gatti Mudaliyar. 

Chikka Deva Raja was the ablest statesman of his time, except ohikka Dsva 
Sivaji himself. The keynote of his policy was friendship with the ^^i^- 
Mughal Aurangzib. His financial reforms, his strenuous home 
administration, gave stability to his authority. Whenever he 
could do so without affront to Aurangzib, he extended his 

^ His summer residence was at Nandi and his winter residence at Kolar. 

2 There is no reference in Mysore history to this cutting off of the noses, 
although there are abundant allusions to insults of this character in literature 
and inscriptions. There is mention for instance of Eaja Odeyar having whipped 
" across the body, like the holy thread" the OdeySr of Karugahalli for some insult. 




VII. 1565- 

The Mara- 


Tho Mughalx 

dominions by couquest. Between 1675 and 1678 A.D. he brought 
his frontier in contact witli that of Bijapur. 

The nggressions of the Marathas, however, checked his enter- 
prise. In 1661 Shahji had died, and Venkoji entered on his inheri- 
tance. By 1674 Venkoji had established himself in Tanjc>re. 
In 1677 Sivaji advanced on Gingte, through the Banialcheri 
Pass, to claim his inheritance from liis half-brother, and in July 
of the same year the two brothers came to terms. It wouM 
appear that, for a few years, the Baraniahal, and perhaps also the 
Talaghat, passed under Maratha rule. 

Chikka Deva Eaja studiously refrained from interfering with 
the Marathas, who came to loot and not to rule. With the death 
of Sivaji in 1680, and the fall of Bijapur and Golconda, he came 
in closer contact with the Mughals, and made fast friends with 
the Mughal general Qasim Khau. In 1689 he assisted in the 
final ruin of Madnra. In 1685 he had been negotiating with 
Venkoji for the purchase of Bangalore. Before the bargain was 
completed, Qasim Khan seized the place, and sold it to Mysore 
for the stipulated price, three lakhs of rupees. In 1688-9 Chikka 
iJova Raja felt strong enough once again to invade the Baraniahal, 
which had apparently thrown off its allegiance. Dharmapuri, 
Manukonda, Omaltir and Paramati were taken from "tho people 
of Aura ;" Kaveri-patnam and Anantagiri (i.e., Attur)''by the 
treaty concluded by Lingurajayah with the Aurachee." ^ By 
1704, when Chikka D6va Raja died, almost the whole of Salem 
District was within his dominions. 

Bijapur fell to the Mughals in 1687 A.D., and Golconda in 
1688. In 1690 Aurangzib placed Qasim E ban in command of 
the Carnatic provinces lately dependent on the two Sultanates. 
These provinces comprised three well-marked territorial divisions ; 
(A) Carnatic Haidarabad Balaghat, composed of •the five Circars 
of (1) Sidhout, (2) Gandi-kota, (3) Gooty, (4) (Jurramkonda, and 
(5) Karabam ; CB) Carnatic Haidarabad Paylnghat, extending 
from Guntur to the Coleroon, and including almost all the Coro- 
mandel Coast, with Tanjore, Gingce, and Trichinopoly ; (C) 
Carnatic Bijapur, situated west of Carnatic Haidarabad, and 
comprising the plateau country round Sira and Bangalore. In 
1691 the Carnatic Payinghat appears to have been made a sepa- 
rate command under Zulfikilr Khan, who was entrusted with the 
reduction of Gingee, a task which occupied him till 1698. In 
that year Qasim Khan was defeated by the Marathas, and died 
either by his own hand or by the dagger of an assassin. He was 

1 Wilka I, p. 132. 


succeeded by Zulfikar Khau, who ruled the Carnatic provinces for OH .a P. ii. 
nearly ID years, "a period of incessant and destructive warfare"^ vii. 1505- 

On the death of Auraiigzib, in 1707 A.D., rapid disiute^ra- ^^' 
tiou set in througiiout the Mughal dominions. Zulfikar Khan Break up of 
went north, to watch the struggle for the succession that ensued. ^"&^^»^ Km- 
Daud A^vhan, who was left in command of the Carnatic provinces, 
followed northwards sliortly after, nominating as his deputy 
Sadat-ulla Khan. The territory directly under Sadat-ulla Khan 
comprised Carnatic Haidarabad Payinghat and Carnatic Bijapur, 
which by this time came to be known as the provinces of Arcot 
and Sira respectively. Meanwhile, in Mysore, Chikka Deva 
Eaja had been succeeded by his son, a deaf-mute, and hence- 
forward that State was ruled by its ministers, in the names of 
puppet Eajas. Sadat-ulla Khan at first enjoyed, under the 
suzerainty of the Nizam, the undivided control of the two 
Carnatics, but, after four years, bis jurisdiction was restricted to 
the province of Arcot, and a new Nawab, Amin Khau, was ap- 
pointed for Sira. Sadat-ulla Khan resented the removal of the 
rich State of Mysore from his jurisdiction, and formed a conspi- 
racy with the Nawabs of Cudilapah, Kurnool, Savanur and the 
Maratha chief Morari Bao Ghorpade of Gooty to seize it. The 
new Nawab, Amin Khan, compromised by suggesting joint action 
against the Eaja of Mysore. Accordingly the confederates levied 
blackmail to the extent of a crore of rupees. Henceforward the 
funds of the unfortunate State of Mysore were looked on as the 
lawful property of any one w^ho was strong enough to demand their 

Meanwhile, four of the five Circars of the Carnatic Haidarabad The Oudda- 
Balaghat had been absorbed by Abdul Nabi Khan, the Pathan^ ^'^^ Nawabs. 
Nawab of Cuddapah ; the fifth, Gooty, falling to the Ghorpade 
Marathas. Abdul Nabi Khan was theoretically a subordinate^ 
of the officer holding the joint command of the Carnatics, but 
he sometimes dealt directly with the Subedar of the Deecan. 
Before, however, Nizam-ul-mulk had consolidated his power, 
Abdul Nabi Khan had become practically independent. He 

' According to the Baramahal tradition, {S.D.M., Vol, I, p. 89), Zulfikar 
Khan took northern Salem from the Marathas on behall of the Mugbals, and 
ruled it for 8 years. 

^ In the early yeai s of the eighteenth century, the Pathan families of Savanur, 
Kurnool, and Cuddapah, began " to rally around them the remains of the genu- 
ine Pathans, or ferocious bands of the same tribe, who were perpetually descend- 
ing from the Indian Caucasus to improve their fortunes in the south ", Wilks, 
Vol. I, p. 13G. 

3 According to the Baramahal tradition, {S.D.M., Vol. T, p. 89), the Baramahal 
was granted by Zulfikar Khan as a Jaghir to Abdul Nabi Khan. 




VII. )565- 

Else of B ai- 
dar Aliand 
the British- 

Conquest ot 
the Birania- 
bal by Hai> 

extended his possessions southward along the back of the Eastern 
Grbats nearly to the Kaveri, and, by 1714 A.D., he had made 
himself master of the Baramahal.^ 

The Nizam-nl-mulk died in 1748. A war of suooossion 
followed, in which the French and Eug^lish took sides, and for the 
first time oame into political prominence. The field of war was 
outside Salem District, which at the time was divided between 
Cuddapah and Mysore. Nanja Eaj, chief minister of the latter 
State, played a double game ; he tried to get the cession of 
Trichinopoly from Muhammad Ali, and then intrigued with the 
French. His share in the war cost him money, but brought him 
no gain. It was in this war that an obscure adventurer, Haidar 
Ali, became the most powerful subject in the service of Mysore. 

In 1758 Cuddapah was invaded by the MarAthas, who stripped 
the Nawab of half of his territory. One A sad Khan, at the time 
Governor of Baramahal on behalf of Cuddapah, had recently been 
superseded by another officer. He promptly went over to Haidar, 
and advised him to essay the conquest of the Baramahal. Haidar 
deputed his brother-in-law, Makhdum Ali, for the purpose. This 
ofiicer, as a preliminary stop, first reduced the PoHgar of Anekal, 
whose territory intervened between that of Haidar and the Bilra- 
mah&l. This object was effected in 1760. Meanwhile the French 
had been vanquished at Wandiwash (January 22, 1760), and 
Lally, as a last resort, applied to Haidar for help. Haidar 
thereon sent Makhdum Ali to Pondicherry to negotiate. The 
treaty was to stipulate the cession to Mysore of Tiyaga, a fort 
which commanded the Attur Pass. At the conclusion of the war, 
Trichinopoly, Madura, and Tinnovelly were to be ceded to Haidar. 
Makhdum Ali proceeded to Pondicherry before the end of Juno, 
and ratified the treaty, when he was recalled with all his forces by 
the m"gent necessity of Haidar. The conspiracy of Khaudo Eao 
with the puppet Raja and the Marathas had all but terminated 
his career. Makhdum Ali, after hard fighting, got as far as 

^ The names, dates, and order of succeasion of the Cuddapah Mawubs, present 
a hopeless puzzle. Mr. Gribble, in the Cuddapah Manual, p. 91, gives tlie follow- 
ing order : (1) Abdul Nabi Khan, (2) his son, Mahazid Khan, (inscription dated 
1732 A.D.), (3) Mahasim Khan, brother of (2), (4) Allm Khan. The tradition 
preserved in the Baramahal, quoted by Mr. Le Fanu, S.D.M., Vol. I, p. 89, gives 
the following order : (1) Abdul Nabi Khan, (2) Abdul Muhammad Khan, (ruled 10 
years), (3) Abdul Musum Khan, (11 years), (4) Abdul Muzzad Khan, (8 years), 
(5) Abdul Musum Khan again, for another 5 years. According to Grant Duff, 
it was Mnhammad Khan who murdered Nazir Jang in 1750. According to the 
Punganur tradition, {North Arcot Manual, Vol. IT, p. 408), Abdul Mahsim was 
slain in the disastrous battle with the Marathas near Cuddapah in 1757. Accord- 
ing to Wilks, Vol. I, p. 402, Allm Khilu joined Nizam Ali on the eve of the Cbital- 
drug campaign of 1777. 

















































MiSTORY. 75 

Kela-inanp:alam and ocoupiod Anchotti-durgam. Hero ho was CHAP. II. 
closoly blookadod, and ovory attempt of Haidar's force at Anokal VII. 1566- 

to effect a junction failed. Haidar then resorted to the expedient .* 

of bribing the Marathas to desert Khando Rao. The bribe, as 
usual, succeeded. Three lakhs were paid, the Baramahal was 
ceded. Ilaidar joined his brother-in-law, defeated Khande Rao, 
and assumed the supreme control of Mysore affairs. 

Tiie year 1761 was eventful in Indian history. On January Vlll. Thr 
15th, Pondicherry surrendered to the English, and French ^-^^"^^ 
dominion in India ceased to exist. Eight days previously Prelode, 
(January 7th) two hundred thousand Marathas perished at l^^l-^^^* 
Panipat in battle against the Afghan Abdali, and in the mas- 
sacre which ensued. In the same year Haidar Ali, emboldened 
by the catastrophe at Panipat, usurped the government of Mysore. 
By these events the political aspect was completely changed. 

Haidar overrated the effect of Panipat. Before the year 1761 
had expired, he had, in alliance with the Nizam's brother Basalat 
Jang, driven the Marathas out of Sira, and on the payment of 
three lakhs, be was created Nawab of Sira, a title which Basalat 
Jang had not the faintest authority to bestow. The seizure of 
Sira by Haidar was an insult to the Marathas which brought 
speedy retribution. In 1764 the Peshwa himself invaded Mysore ; 
by June, Haidar had sustained a crushing defeat, and in 
February of the following year he bought off the Marathas with 
an indemnity of 32 lakhs. In 1766, the pageant Eaja died. 
His son, a youth of 18 years, was set on the throne by Haidar. 
The young prince chafed against Haidar's authority. Haidar 
confiscated all his property, and placed him in confinement. This 
act determined the Marathas and Nizam Ali on Haidar's deposi- 
tion, and precipitated the First Mysore War. 

The War of 1767-9 is of peculiar interest in the history of First Mysore 
Salem District, within the limits of which its chief operations ^'ar, 1707-9 
were conducted. The war was a sequel to the treaty of Novem- ' * 
ber 12, 1766, between the Company and Nizam Ali. Under 
this, the Company accepted in fief from the Nizam the Northern 
Circars, already granted them by a firman of the Delhi Emperor, 
and engaged " to have a body of their troops ready to settle the 
affairs of His Highness' (the Nizam's) Government, in everything 
that is right and proper whenever required." In pursuance 
of this undertaking, plans for a joint invasion of Haidar's terri- 
tory were agreed to by the Marathas, the Nizam and the 



VUI. The 




The English 
occupy the 

invades the 

The Marathas moved first, aud early in March, 1767, before 
their allies could join thom, thoy had overnmtho Mjsoro domini- 
ons as far as the Baramabal, brought Haidar to bis kuoes, aud 
agreed to withdraw from the war on tbo payment of 17-| lakhs 
cash down, aud the pledge of Kolar District' as security for the 
payment of a like sum in addition. The balance was paid early 
in May, and on tlie 11th of that month the Marathas finally 
moved northwards. 

Meanwhile the army of the Nizam had, by March 9th, reached 
the Tungabhadra, and was joined by Colonel Joseph Smith, with 
six battalions of infantry and some guns. On March 24th the 
allies learned that the Marathas had been bribed to withdraw. 
Colonel Smith soon discovered that Haidar was making overtures 
to the Nizam also, which the latter was prepared to accept. Ho 
accordingly withdrew part of his force, but the Madras Govern- 
ment insisted on three battalions remaining in the Nizam's camp, 
as proof of confidence. This force was soon afterwards reduced 
to five companies, and the latter were suffered by the Nizam 
to depart within a few days of the actual outbreak of hostilities 
between Haidar and the British. 

While the Nizam's army was approaching Bangalore from the 
north, a respectable force of 3,000 foot, 500 of whom were British, 
was despatched from Madras with the object of seizing the 
Baramahal. The mud forts of Vaniyambadi, Tiruppattur and 
Kaveri-patuam fell without serious opposition, aud on June 3rd an 
unsuccessful attempt was made to storm Krishuagiri. The siege 
was then converted into a blockade, the prosecution of which 
absorbed the energies of the whole force, and precluded further 
active operations. 

On his return from the Nizam's camp near Bangalore, Colonel 
Smith was directed to assume general command of the British 
troops in the Baramahal. In the latter part of August the com- 
bined armies of Haidar and Nizam Ali^ descended the Krishuagiri 

' Smith estimated the relative strength of the armies as t'ollows : — 

Cavalry. Infantry. Guns. 
Nizam Ali ,< 



British — 
Muhammad Ali 





J 2,860 


















Passes, aud ou tho 25th, the transport cattle which were grazing in 
thfi vicinitv of the British camp near Kakaiikarai/ wore surprised 
and driven oiJ. Smith's oavalrj hastily moved out for their 
recovery, aud were unoxpootedly assailed by very superior numbers 
under Makhdum Ali, who charged them into the very linos of the 
enoampment after destroying about one-third of their number, aud 
carried ofE tho greater part of the cattle.^ 

The same evening Haidar appeared before Kaveri-patnam, which 
was held by Captain MoKain, with three companies of the 3rd 
Battalion of Coast Sepoys. Two assaults were delivered and 
repulsed ; but Captain McKain, finding the place untenable, capitu- 
lated on August 27th. 

By this time Colonel Wood was advancing with reinforcements 
from Trichinopoly towards Tiruvannamalai,^ and it became a 
matter of vital moment that Colonel Smith should join him. 
Smith, crippled by the loss of cattle on the 25th, was unable to 
move till the 28th. He fell back eastward, reaching Singarapet 
on the 30th, Palli-patti on the 31st, and Chengam on September 
Ist. Haidar followed close on his heels. 

It was lucky for the British that he did not forestall them and 
seize the Chengam Pass. On September 2nd * Smith turned to bay 
at Chengam and won a victory. In this action he lost 48 Euro- 
peans and 67 sepoys killed and wounded ; the enemy lost 4,000 men, 
64 guns and a vast quantity of stores.^ Smith then proceeded to 
Tiruvannamalai. Finding no provision there, he was compelled to 
move further eastward in search of supplies. On September 8th 
he was joined by Colonel Wood, and on the 14th he retraced his 
steps to Tiruvannamalai. There on the 26th he brought on a 
pitched battle with Haidar and won a decisive victory.^ The 
Nizam and his army bolted, 55 field pieces were taken, and Haidar 
was compelled to retire into the Baramahal. Colonel Smith, 
unable for want of supplies to follow up his victory, dispersed his 


Vlli. The 


' Now a railway station between Tiruppattur and Samalpatti. 

« Wilks i, 311. 

3 Commonly but wrongly called " Trinomaloe, " " TrinomHlly " etc., etc. 

* Wilks estimates the loss of the confederates at 4,000 men and 64 guns with 
tumbrils. The loss to the British was 170 men killed and wounded, 

5 His total force amounted to 10,430 effective men with 1,500 bad horse, 

European Infantry ... ... ... 1,400 

Native Infantry 9.000 

European Cavalry ... ... ... .,. ... 30 

Native Cavalry ... .., ... ... ... 1,500 

Field Pieces .. 34 

• According to Wilks, Vibert and Fortescue the battle of Chengam was fought 
on September 3rd. 



OnAP. II. 

VIII. The 


the Bara- 

army into cantonments at Vellore, Conjooveram, Wandiwash and 
Trichinopolj for the rainy season, and himself proceeded to Madras 
in the hope of effecting some improvement in the departments of 

For a month the discomforted confederates remained at Mattur^ 
each blaming the other for the disaster at Tiruvannamalai. Early 
in November Haidar, led by the oontinned inactivity of the British 
to believe himself safe from molestation, resumed the offensive, 
recaptured Tiruppattur on the 5th, and Vaniyambadi on the 7th, 
and appeared before Arabur on the 10th. Vaniyambadi was 
surrendered by Captain Eobinson, on parole not to serve again 
during the war, a promise which (apparently under Government 
orders) he subsequently broke. ^ 

Captain Calvert's spirited defence of Ambur was ended on 
December 7th by the appearance of Colonel Smith with a detach- 
ment from Vellore. On the following day Smith came in touch 
with Haidar at Vaniyambadi. Haidar fought a rear-guard action, 
retiring as soon as his retreat was secured, and abandoning 
Vaniyambadi. In this action Haidar's corps of Europoau horse, 
under Monsieur Aumont, moved off in a body and joined the 
English army.^ The main body of the latter had to halt at 
Vaniyambadi to await provisions from Ambur, but Colonel Tod 
with the advance guard occupied Tiruppattur on the 9th. The 
allies retreated towards Kaveri-patnam, the defences of which had 
been so strengthened by Haidar since its capture, that Colonel 
Smith, meanwhile reinforced by Colonel Wood, who had advanced 
from Triohinopoly by the Singarapet Pass, declined to attack it. 

At this juncture the allies learned of demonstrations by the 
Bombay Government against Mysore from the West Coast, and by 
Bengal troops from the Northern Circars against Haidarabad, and 
of a revolt of the Nayars of Malabar. In consequence of this, 
Haidar, on December 14th, despatched his heavy guns and baggage 
with Tipu to the West, and four days later Nizam Ali hurriedly 

^ Wilks gives the name " Calaimnttoor." It is known that Haidar on one of 
his marches crossed the river at Kambaya-nallur, which is only 4 miles from 
Irumattur. As Mattur, however, is easier to reach from Singarapet, and stra- 
tegically covers Krishnagiri and K&T3ri-patDam, the probabilities favour MattOr 
as the place of Haidar's halt. 

* In December this Captain Robinson was second in command at Erode, when 
it was surrendered to Haidar under disgraceful circumstances. Haidar, after 
promising that the garrison should be allowed to proceed on parole to Triohino- 
poly, sent them all to the dungeons of Seringapatam. His plea was that 
Robinson's broken word of honour absolved him from his own promise. 

8 Wilks I, p. 326. This troop of foreign hussars numbered about 60 men, cf, 
Wilson Madras Army, i, p. 280. 

HI8T0KY. 79 

re-asoonded tho Ghats. Haidar, before following his main army, OHAP. li, 
made one vigorous attempt in person to cut off a convoy, composed VIII. Thr 
of the Ist Battalion^ of Sepoys in charge of provisions, advancing wars. 

under Captain E. V. Fitzgerald from Tiruvannamalai. Smith 

anticipated the move, and despatched Major Thomas Fitzgerald, 
with two companies of Grrenadiers, the 5th Battalion* of Sepoys, 
and two field-pieces to reinforce the convoy before Haidar could 
attack it, Haidar attacked the united forces in person on 
December 29th, with a force of 4,000 horse, 2,000 foot and 5 guns, 
and was badly beaten. Immediately after this, Haidar followed 
his main army up the G-hats, leaving Makhdum Sahib with a 
strong force, mainly cavalry, to watch the British, and act on 
their supplies. At the same moment the British army was com- 
pelled to fall back eastward on its communications, to save itself 
from starvation. 

For seven months Haidar was fully occupied with affairs in January to 
the north and west, and the field was clear for the British forces. " ' 
Divided counsels paralysed eificient action. The Government 
wished to invade the Balaghat, and strike directly at Bangalore 
and Seringapatam. Colonel Smith realised that his force was quite 
inadequate for the campaign without any proper commissariat, and 
proposed to occupy the whole of the country contiguous to the 
frontier, from Vaniyambadi through the Baramahal and Talaghat 
down to Dindigul and Palghat, with a view to establishing depots 
as a base for subsequent operations. The result was an attempt to 
carry out both plans with a force inadequate for either. 

The army was formed into two columns. Colonel Smith with Colonel 
1,500 Europeans and 7,500 sepoys was to invade the Balaghat, column. 
Colonel Wood with 600 Europeans and 4,400 sepoys to reduce the 
lowland forts in detail.^ On February 23rd the former appeared 
before Kaveri-patnam, which was promptly abandoned. He then 
received orders to proceed to the camp of the Nizam at Punganur. 
The Nizam had made overtures of peace to Colonel Smith as early 
as December 1767. A treaty was concluded between the Nizam and 
the Nawab on February 23rd, which was signed by the members of 
Council on the 26th idem. Shortly afterwards Smith returned to 

^ Now the 61sh Pioneers. 

2 Now the 64th Pioneers. 

^ Colonel Smith's column was composed of the Isfc and 2nd European 
Regiments, a detachment of artillery, the Foreign Legion, Capt. Achmuty's 
Bengal Battalion, and the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 13th, 14th and 16th Madras Batta- 
lions. Colonel Wood's detachment consisted of the 3rd European Regiment, 
a party of artillery, the 4th, 7th, 8th and 11th "Battalions, and 5 companies of 
the 10th, 




VIII. The 







the Baraniahal, and undertook the blockade of Krishnagiri, which 
did not surrender till Ma\ 2nd. 

On June 8th an advanced detachment of the British armv, 
under Colonel Donald Campbell,' moved from Krishnagiri and 
ascended the Pass of Budi-kota ^ ; on the 16th Venkatagiri-kota 
was occupied, and the direct road to Velloro via Peddanayakan 
dargam secured. On the 23rd, Mulbigal was taken, on the 28th. 
Kolar. Meanwhile Colonel Smith, with the main army, had 
ascended the Budi-kota Grhat, and arrived at Araleri, where he 
directed Colonel Campbell to rejoin him. On July 3rd the united 
forces moved via Bagalur for the siege of Ilosur, which fell on 
the 11th. The Bagalur Poligar, a feudatory of Haidar, prudently 
abstained from hostilities with the English, " at the same time 
representing to Haidar his inability to resist, and the necessitv of 
temporizing until ho had a better opportunity of evincing his 
allegiance."^ Shortly after the fall of Hosur, a detachment 
under Captain Cosby seized Anekal and Denkani-kota. Several 
days were then wasted by the attempt of a detachment under 
Colonel Lang to occupy a number of villages surrounded by almost 
impenetrable jungles between Denkani-kota and the Kaveri, a 
move which Muhammad Ali thought might increase his revenues, 
but which could not be of any conceivable strategical importance. 

At Ilosur, Smith was joined by the advance guard of Morari 
Rao, the Maratha ruler of Gooty, whose services had been 
bargained for by the British and secured. Smith then moved to 
Hoskoto, where, on August 4th, he was joined by Morari liao in 
person. On that very day Haidar re-entered Bangalore. 
Haidar's fu-st move was a night attack on the camp of Morari iJao 
at Hoskote ; the attack was repulsed (August 22nd). Both armies 
now turned their attention to the advance of Colonel Wood. 

This officer had begun his task of reducing the lowland forts 
with the siege of Tenkarai-kottai, which capitulated, on the eve of 
assault, on February 12th. Dbarmapuri was carried by assault. 
The slaughter of the defenders was so severe that only one other 
garrison (that of Erode) dare face Wood's storming party. The 
forts of Salem, Attiir, Seuda-mangalam and Namakkal surrendered 
without a blow. Wood then crossed the Kavori, secured the 
passes from Coimbatore to the plateau, and penetrated to Pal ghat. 
Doubling back through the south of Coimbatore District, by 
August Jird he was master of Dindigul. He then received orders 

^ Colonel Campbell's force oomprised detachments of the 1st and 2nd 
Eoropean Regiments, and of the 3rd, 5th, Itth and 16th Battalions. 

^ For the Budi-kota Ghat vide "Vol. II, p. 108. 3 Wilks, i, p. 340. 


to join Smith in Mysore. Marching via the Topptir Pass, ho CHAP. II. 
roaehod Krishnagiri on September Ist. VIII. The 

Colonel Wood was expected to reach Biidi-kota on September wah«^ 

5th, and move thence to Malur on the 6th. Colonel Smith, 

however, having lost touch with Haidar on the 3rd, thought it q°".^^°,"j* 

wise to advance and meet Wood's force. lie throw his baggage yvood.' 

into Maliir on the 5th, and on the 6th morning advanced towards 

Biidi-kota. The move was a fortunate one, and might have led to 

Haidar's destruction, but for the fool-hardiness of Colonel Wood.^ 

Haidar, carefully concealing his movements, had taken up such a 

position at a bend of the defile up which Wood must march, that 

he could enfilade the advancing troops from chosen positions, and, 

taking advantage of the ensuing confusion, annihilate the British 

force. As Smith advanced, he received early intelligence of the 

movements of Wood and Haidar, and realised that the latter 

could be trapped. He sent messengers to apprise Colonel Wood 

of his intentions. Ho shortly afterwards reached the corner of the 

defile where he hoped to attacK Haidar, when both he and Haidar 

were startled by " a regular salute which Colonel Wood thought 

proper to fire in honour of Colonel Smith on receiving the message 

of his approach." The warning was enough, Haidar withdrew 

and Smith and Wood joined their forces without opposition, but the 

chance of dealing the enemy a severe blow was lost. Haidar now 

offered the cession of the Baramahal, and an indemnity of ten 

lakhs, as the price of peace. The terms were rejected. The 

Government were soon to repent their rashness in rejecting these 


The British army next moved on K5lar. Meanwhile Haidar 
recovered Mulbagal. On October 3rd Wood ^ retook the Peta 
and failed at the iFort. On the following day Wood was attacked 
in force by Haidar, and barely escaped defeat. 

Towards the end of October, Smith was summoned by the 
Grovernment to Madras, and on November 14th he set out from 
K51ax towards Venkatagiri-kota with Muhammad Ali and the two 
Deputies, with whom Government had thought fit to hamper the 
discretion of their Commander-in-Chief. Smith's column moved 

^ SmUh's force comprised the let and 2nd European Regiments, the 1st, 3rd 
and 5th Battalions and Achnmty's Bengal Battalion. Wood had with him the 
3rd Regiment of Europeans, the 8th and 11th Battalions of Sepoys and 4 com- 
panies of the Tth Battalion. 

'^ In consequence of the displeasure expressed by Colonel Smith at Colonel 
Wood's incomprehensible salute of September 6th, the latter desired permission 
^o resign his command, and Colonel Lang took his place. Colonel Wood, however 
resumed his command by the end of September. (Wilks, i, p. 345-34G). 




VIII. The 

invades the 
and ends 
the War. 

eastward to cover their march, Wood romaiuiug^ in command at 
Kolar. On the first day's march of the Nawab's party, news was 
received that Haidar was attacking Hostir. Smith accordingly 
detached the 2nd European Regiment and Captain Cosby's 
Battalion of Sepoys to reinforce Wood. The remainder of Smith's 
force, under Major Fitzgerald, occupied Venkatagiri-kota, to cover 
the retreat of the Nawab and the Deputies. 

On November 16th Wood marched to the relief of Hosur.^ 
On the 17th he reached Bagalur and deposited there his baggage, 
camp equipage and surplus stores, with two brass 18-poundors, as 
a preliminary to a night attack on Haidar's camp. From Bagah'ir 
to Hosur is 7^ miles. Wood started from Bagalur at 10 p.m., and 
reached Hosur at 7 a.m. on the morning of the 18th. Haidar 
allowed him to enter the fort unmolested. His cavalry kept 
Wood's force amused with demonstrations in all directions, while 
his infantry by a flank march proceeded to Bagalur. It was 
not till 2 P.M. that the sound of firing to the north convinced 
Colonel Wood of the situation. He hastily retraced his steps to 
Bagalur, but arrived too late. Haidar, without attempting an 
attack on the Fort, had entered the Peta, packed nearly the 
whole of the stores and baggage of the British army on his 
carts, tumbrils and gun-carriages, and marched them off to Banga- 
lore with the two IS-pouuders. By the time Wood reached 
Bagaliir, nearly the whole of Haidar 's army was out of sight. 
An awful panic in the Peta had resulted in the loss of over 2,000 
human lives and as many bullocks. 

On November 20th, Wood retiu-ned to Hosur, and gave the 
garrison what ammunition and stores he could spare. On the 2l8t 
he marched via Bagalur to Araleri, where there was a small supply 
of provisions. There ho was attacked in force by Haidar on the 
22nd and 23rd, and was only saved from annihilation by the arrival 
of Major Fitzgerald from Venkatagiri-kota, with every man he 
could muster. On Fitzgerald's approach, Haidar, thinking he 
had the dreaded Smith to deal with, drew off to a respectful 
distance, and permitted the united forces of the British to proceed 
to Venkatagiri-kota. Wood was sent imdor arrest to Madras and 
Colonel Lang took command. 

As soon as Haidar discovered that Smith was no longer in the 
field against him, ho threw to the winds all anxiety for the safety 
of Bangalore. Early in November Fazl-uUa-Khan had been 
organizing a force at Seringapatam, and towards the end of the 

* His force consisted of the 2nd and 3rd Eeropean Regimdnts (about 700 men) 
and 5 Battalions of Sepoys, among them tho 6th, 11th and 16th. 



month, ho swooped down on Coinibatoro District through the; Passes 
of Gajalhatti and KjlvGri-purana.^ On December Gth Haider 
himself marclied into tho Baramahal via Palakodu, and debouched 
on the Talaghilt through the Toppur Pass. Four days later, Major 
Fitzgerald started in pursuit with a select force of 5,000 men'-^, but 
ho oould not come up with Haidar. Colonel Wood's sliort-lived 
conquests in the Baramahal and Salem were garrisoned mostly by 
the troops of the Nawab, without any mixture of English sepoys. 
Capture after capture was reported to Fitzgerald, Dharmapuri 
on December 6th, Tcnkarai-kottai on the 7th, Omaltir 12th, Salem 
15th, Namakkal 17th, Karur 19th, Erode 25th, Dindigul Slst. 
Fitzgerald pushed straight for Trichinopoly. Lang fell back from 
Kolar on Vellore. Within six weeks Haider had won back every 
post that had been taken from him except Krishnagiri, Venkata- 
giri-k5ta and Kolar, the first of little strategic value, the other two 
untenable. Haider's final move is famous in history. When 140 
miles south of Madras, he suddenly despatched his whole army, 
guns and baggage, through the Baramahal, reserving for his 
purpose only G,000 horse and 200 chosen foot. With these he 
marched 130 miles in three days and a half, and on March 29th he 
appeared with his cavalry before Madras. He dictated peace on 
his own terms. A treaty was signed on April 3, 1769, stipulating 
the mutual restitution of prisoners and places, and a mutual 
defensive alliance.^ 

The Second Mysore War is a tedious record of disaster from 
the British point of view. Throughout the War, Salem District 
was Haidar's own, and its soil was never violated by the tread of 
hostile troops. The Treaty of Mangaloro was signed on March 
11, 1784 and imdor it the status quo ante was restored. The 
Company w'as not in position to claim a foot of Salem soil. 

At the end of December 1789 Tipu attacked tho Travancore 
Lines and was beaten off. In April 1790 he carried them by storm. 

CHAi'. II. 

VIII. The 

invades the 
and ends 
t.lie War. 

Mysore VVai* 




1 An interesting account of the Kaveri-piiram Ghat is given by Buchanan, 
Vol. I, pp. 406-422. His itinerary was Siva-samudram, Satt.egalam, " Pallia " 
Singanallur, Hannur, Kandhalli, Maratahalli, Nadukkaval, Chikka-Kaval, 
Kaveri-puram. Of. Bevan, Thirty Years in India, I, p. 53, sq. 

* European and Native Cavalry ... .,. ... 500 

3rd Regiment Enropcan Infantry — ... ... 350 

Grenadier Companies 1st and 2nd Regiments ... 150 

Five Battalions of Sepoys 4,000 

8 six-pounders, 6 three-ponnders and a detail of artillery men. The Sepoy 
Battalions were the 3rd, 5th, Gth, 13f.h and 16th. 

^ " In case either of the contracting parties shall be attacked, thoy shall, from 
their respective countries, mutually assist each other to drivn them out.'* 
Aitchison's Treaties, Vol. V, p. 253). 





VIII. The 





This began the Third Mysore War. The English formed an 
alliance with the Marathas and Nizam to curb Tipu's 

The first stage of the War. was mostly confined to operations in 
Coimbatore and Salem. General Modows loft Triohinopoly on 
May 26th/ seized Kariir on June 15th, and proceeded to reduce 
the fortresses scattered over Coimbatore in detail. Coimbatore 
itself was occupied without resistance on July 2l8t. Eroeie fell on 
August 6th, and Dindigul on August 23rd. A force was sent 
against Palghat, and another against a body of 4,000 horse which 
Tipu had posted in the country for observation. This force was 
driven up the Grajalhatti Pass, and Satya-maugalam was surprised 
and taken. But those operations, while leaving Modows master of 
Coimbatore, had split his army into three divisions between 
Palghat, Coimbatore and Satya-mangalam. Tipu, hitherto 
inactive, now began to move. On the 2nd Septembor, at the head 
of 40,000 men, he left Seringapatam, passed south through the 
Gajalhatti Pass (September 11th) and crossed the Bhavani river 
(September 12th). The moves and counter-moves of the next few 
days compelled Medows to retiu'n from the line of the Bhavani to 
Coimbatore, where he concentrated his scattered forces between 
September 18th and 26th. Meanwhile Tipu marched on Erode, 
which at his approach was evacuated (Septembor 25th). By this 
move he recovered several of the places taken, and inflicted several 
minor reverses on the British arms. 

Meanwhile a second English field force, 9,500 strong, had 
concentrated at Ami under Colonel Kelly.'-^ On September 24th 
that ofiioer died, and the command devolved on Colonel Maxwell. 
Exactly a month later (October 24th) Maxwell entered Tipu's 
territory near Vdniyambadi; on November 1st ho approached 
Krishnagiri, but, instead of attacking, drew off and fixed his head- 
quarters at Kaveri-patnam (November 3rd). 

As soon as Tipu heard of Maxwell's advance, he started post- 
haste for the Baramahal. By November 9th Tipu's light cavalry 
reached Kaveri-patnam. On the 12th Tipu appeared in full force, 
and attempted, by a variety of evolutions, to find the means of 
attacking Maxwell with advantage ; but the strong position 
assumed by that officer, his admirable dispositions and his prompti- 
tude in anticipating every design, frustrated these intentions, and 
the Sultan drew off. The same manoeuvres wore repeated on the 

^ His force amounted to about 15,000 men. For details see AVilson, Madras 
Army, ii,p. 191. 

« For details s^e Wilson, II, p. 193. 

biSTORY. 65 

18th and 14th. Meanwhile Mcdows had started in pnrsnit of CHAP. II. 
Tipn. He crossed thc'Kavori on November 8th; on the 14th he VIII. The 
eucamped at the south extremity of the Pass of Topptir. On the wabs. 

followinjj^ day he cleared the Pass, and reached a oampinp^ [ground 

at the northern cxtromit}^, situated about 29 miles from Kaveri- 
patnara. Hero a camp was espied, six miles away. Thinking 
it was Maxwell's, the English fired three signal guns. In five 
minutes every tent in the siipposod English camp was struck, and 
heavy columns were seen in full march to the west. Medows now 
realised that he was in sight of Tipu's army. He did not give 
pursuit, his junction with Maxwell was more important. This 
was effected on the 17th at Pula-halli, 12 miles south of Kaveri- 
patnam.^ Tipu now decided to double back through the Topptir 
Pass, and try his fortune in the Carnatic. On the 18th both 
armies were in motion, both pointing to the Pass of Toppur, and 
both intending to clear it in two easy marches. The two armies 
were actually preparing to encamp' within four miles of each other, 
before they discovered each other's presence. Tipu's columns had 
entered the Pass by the time the main body of the English army 
arrived on the camping ground. It was a golden opportunity 
for cutting off a portion of the enemy's infantry, and attacking the 
remainder while entangled in the Pass. Medows lot the chance 
slip. Tipu's army cleared the Pass, with the exception of three 
infantry battalions in the rear of the main column, which were 
intercepted and compelled to retreat in the opposite direction, and 
the majority of the cavalry, which disappeared towards Penna- 
garam, and rejoined the main body by a circuitous route some days 
later. Tipa held on without halting for Trichinopoly, and 
Medows' campaign was rendered abortive- 

Shortly after, Medows was called to Madras to confer with Campaign 
Lord Cornwallis, who arrived there on December 12th. His of ComwalHs, 
arrival marks the second stage in the War. The English now had 
a definite objective, namely, Seringapatam. The Grovernor-General 
concentrated at Vellore on Febrnary 10th. To meet his advance, 
Tipu doubled back from the Carnatic vid Chengara and Palakodu. 
Cornwallis had feigned the invasion of the Baramahal. His real 
intention was to advance on Kolar by the Mogili Pass, west of 
Chittoor. This plan he carried out on February 17th, and on the 
28th Kolar fell.^ Bangalore was stormed on March 2l8t ; on May 
4th Cornwallis started for Seringapatam ; but the rains set in, his 
commissariat broke down, and he had to return to Bangalore. By 
July he began a series of operations for the reduction of Tipu's 

^ For details of the brigading of the combined forces, see Wilson, II, p. 201. 
* He marched via Chittoor, Palmanfir, Mulbagal, Kolar, Hoskote, Bangalore, 





VIII. Thi.; 

M rsoRF. 




Close of the 


outlying forts. Hostir, Anclietti-d iirgam , Nilagiri, l\atnn{?iri, 
were taken without resistance. Some sharp iigLting under Major 
Growdic was seen at Raya-kota, when the lower fort was stormed 
on July 20th ; the upper fort surrendered two days later. About 
the same time Hude-durgara and other small hill forts capi- 
tulated.^ Garrisons were placed in Raya-kota, Anchotti-durgam 
and Hude-durgam. The other places were dismantled. In 
September the British directed their efforts to redueing the 
countr}'^ north of Bangalore. 

In October 1791 a diversion was caused in the Baramahal by a 
force under Bakir Sahib, an active young officer, sou of the 
venerable Killcdar of Dhilrwar. He descended into Coimbatore 
and entered the Baramahal by the Toppur Pass. His object was 
threefold; (1) to throw reinfort^raents into Krishnagiri, (2) to 
harass the English communications, (3) to sweep off in a southern 
direction the population and cattle of the whole District. Colonel 
Maxwell was despatched against him. The plunderers had 
ensconced themselves and their captives in the fort of Pennagaram. 
Colonel Maxwell appeared before the fort on October 31 st, and 
called on the garrison to surrender. In reply, tlio Hag of truce 
was fired upon. The fort was instantly assaulted and carried by 
escalade with little loss to the assailants; but of the garrison two 
hundred men were killed before the indignation of the troops 
oould bo restrained. Bakir Sahib soon found the Baramahal 
nntenable, thanks to Maxwell's activity, and retired via Chengam 
to the Coromaudel. 

Maxwell now proceeded to Krishnagiri, and seized the Pota 
by surprise on November 7th. His attempts on the Rook itself 
were repulsed. 

Soon afterwards Maxwell rejoined the main army, which was 
again preparing for the march on Seriugapatam. What followed 
does not concern this narrative. Tipu was brought to his knees 
before the end of February, and a peace was ratified on March 1 9th 
which stripped Tipu of half his dominions, and crippled him with a 
fine of over thirty million rupees. By this treaty the whole of the 
present Salom District, except Hosur Taluk, came under the 
Company's rule. 

The interval between the Third and Fourth Mysore Wars 
contains little of interest, except from an administrative point of 
view. This is dealt with in its proper place. The military forces 
were placed under the charge of Captain Alexander Read, the first 
Collector, whose head-quarters were at Krishnagiri with the 15th 

^ including CLendraya-durgam, sco note on p. 87. 


Battalion.' Tholth Battalion^ was at Poimap^aram, under Captain CHAP. II, 
Turing, who died there in 1793. The 22nd Battalion was quartered Vlll. Tiik 
under Captain Oram at Sankaridrug, with a detachment under wars 

Li(>utenant Maodonald at Salem. The quarters of the 23rd 

Battalion were fixed at Attiir under Captain Campbell, and a 
detachment xinder Lieutenant Lang was posted to Namakkal.'^ 

The last Mysore War possesses little of interest so far as it ^*"^'*^I^ 
oouoorns Salem District, Tipu never had a chance. His whole War, 17*J9. 
force did not exceed 33,000 foot and 15,000 horse. His territory 
was invaded from Coorg by Greneral Stuart with 6,400 men, from 
the Baramahal by Ceneral Harris with a well equipped army of 
nearly 30,000. Colonel Eoad (the first Collector of Salem) secured 
abundant supplies for the advancing troops. Greneral Harris left 
Vellore on February 11, 1799, and marched through the vale of 
Ambur. On the 18th he was joined by the Nizam's contingent 
" consisting of above 6,000 of the Company's troops subsidised by 
His Highness ; about the same number of his own infantry, in- 
cluding a proportion of Peron's, the late French corps, now 
commanded by British officers, and a large body of cavalry."^ On 
the 28th, this army encamped at Kari-mangalam. Thence it 
proceeded via Palakodu and " Suntamarinelly " to Raya-kota, where 
it encamped on March 4th. Hostilities began on the 5th, when 

' Davis-ki-paltan, now the 75th Carnatio Infantry. 

* Baillie-ki-paltan, now the 64th Pioneers. The following additional infor- 
mation has been furnished by the courtesy of Captain H, P. Murland from the 
regimental records of the 64th Pioneers (Baillie-ki-paltaa), At the close of 
iiostilities in 1792 a detachment of the 4th Biittalion of about 50 strong', was 
posted at Virabhadra-durgam, and another about 130 strong, at Tiruppattur. In 
1794 there were detachments at Virabhadra-durgam (Lt. MaoRae), Tiruppattur, 
Chendraya-durgani and Solappiidi. In 1795 the regiment was stationed at Eaya. 
kota under Captain Gabriel Doveton, with detachments at Virabhadra-durgara 
(Lt, MaoRae) Chendraya-dnrgam (Lt. MacGregor) and Kangnndi (Lt. Grant). 
In 1797 and 1798 there were detachments at Salem (300 strong under Captain 
Innes), Virabhadra-durgam (Lt. Brown), Chendraya-durgam (Lt. Cormiok) and 
Kangundi (Lt. Symons). Chendraya-durgam lies about one mile from Nam.- 
manda-halli, in the extreme west of Krishnagiri Taluk. Ruins of fortifications 
and other buildings are still to be seen on the hill-top, and on the plain to the 
north is a plot of land traditionally known as the " drill-ground." The village 
site at the foot of the hill is no longer inhabited. Chendraya-durgam is 
referred to in Allan's Views as a small but strong hill fort which fell to Maxwell 
On July 23rd, 1791, the day after the capitulation of Raya-kota to Major Gowdie 
(p. 86 above). It is also mentioned as an important strategic stronghold in 
Supplementary Despatches of the Duke of WellitxjtOTi, edited by his son (1858) 
Vol. I, pp. 55-67. 
. 3 See Wilson, ii, p, 239. 

* Main Army, 20,802 ; Nizam's detachment, 6,536 ; Nizam's Infantry, form 
orly French Corps, 2,621— Total, 29,959. 
^ Beatson, p. 53, 



VII r. The 




gk detaohment under ^f ajor John Cnppagc occupied without rosis 
tauoc the small hill forts of Nllagiri aud Auohclti-dnrgcam. Hudo- 
durgam surrendered to Lieut. -Col. Oliver on the 7th, and Ratnagiri 
was occupied after slight resistance on the 8th. Meanwhile, 
on the 7th, Greueral Harris had established his head-quarters at 
Kela-mangalam, and by the 9th his whole army was collected there. 

At this moment Tipu was at Maddur. A party of 1,500 horse 
had been detached to Hosur, to watch the movements of the army, 
and to burn forage. It was the policy of General Harris to keep 
him in the dark, as long as possible, as to the route by which he 
would advance on Seriugapatam. Three alternatives offered 
themselves. (1) The shortest route from Kela-mangalam was via 
Tali, Maralavadi and Kankanhalli; but "the Pass of Tali had 
never been examined, and it appeared that, besides the uncertainty 
of finding it passable for heavy guns, the probable time it would 
require to explore and to repair it would more than counter- 
balance the advantage which might bo gained on the distance ". 
The routes (2) via Auekal and Karikanhalli, and (3) via Anokal 
and Chennapatna, had already been surveyed, the former having 
been traversed by Lord Cornwallis in May 1791. The Anokal- 
Kanhanhalli route was determined on by General Harris after 
careful deliberation, the idea being to deceive Tipu into a belief 
that Bangalore was his first objective. 

Lord Harris moved from Kela-mangalam on March 10th. The 
Sultan's horse harassed the advancing columns ut first and sno- 
oeeded, near the village of Gulisandiram, in cutting up a light 
company of the rear-gnard of the Nizam's contingent. The array 
camped at Kalugondapalli (on the present Hosur-Tali road) for 
the night, and owing to delay in the transport, was oompollod to 
halt there during the 11th. The march was resumed on the 12fch, 
On the 27th Tipu was defeated at Malavalli, and on May 4th 
Seriugapatam was stormed and the Sultan slain. 

In the division of territory which followed the capture of 
Seriugapatam, the Balaghat taluks of Hos€tr, Donkani-kota, 
Kela-mangalam, Venkatagiri-kota, and Alambadi, with the 
Palaiyams of Bagaliir, Berikai and Sulagiri were added to Salem 
District.' On November 5, 1799, a general redistribution of 
garrisons and detachments throughout the Presidency was effected, 
under the orders of Lord Clive, then Governor of Fort St. George. 
Under these arrangements, Krishnagiri was selected as the head- 
quarters for the Baramahal, and Saukaridrug for the Talaghat 
while a garrison at Baya-kota guarded the Balaghat. One 

' Aitchison's Treaties, V. p. 1 83. 



Battalion of Native Infantry was allotted to Krishnag-iri and 
Raya-kota ; one Battalion to Sankaridrag-, and five companies wore 
detached from the latter to garrison Salem, Namakkal and Attar ; 
Krishnagiri^, Bayakota and Sankaridrug were made Government 
Commands in the Centre Division of the Madras Army, while 
Salem, Namakkal and Attiir were classed among " other posts or 
stations which were occasionally occupied by troops furnished by 
detachments from the principal stations." Krishnagiri, Raya-kota 
Sankaridrug and Attur were made ordnance stations. The 
garrison at Pennagaram was apparently withdrawn. 

In 1814 four Native Veteran Battalions^ were formed for 
garrison duties, and shortly afterwards the garrisons of the District 
seem to have been reduced, for, between 1816 and 1851, the 
only troops, with few exceptions, which figure in the lists were 
detachments from Native Veteran Battalions. 

In 1823 Salem seems to have taken precedence of Sankaridrug 
as the chief military station in the Balaghat. By 1824 Attup 
had ceased to be a military station, by 1832 Namakkal had shared 
the same fate, and soon after 1832 Sankaridrug and Krishnagiri 
disappear from the list. 

In 1850 Salem was transferred from the Centre or Presidency 
Division, to the South or Trichinopoly Division of the Madras 
Army, and was allotted two companies of the first Native Veteran 
Battalion, and in the following year Eaya-k5ta was attached to the 
Bangalore Command, and garrisoned by a company detached from 
Regiments stationed at Bangalore. This arrangement continued 
till 1857, when a general redistribution of the army was brought 
into force, resulting in the withdrawal of detachments from out- 
posts, and the concentration of troops as far as possible in the 
head-quarters of Divisions and Brigades. Baya-kota was handed 
over to a half company of the 2nd or Arni Native Veteran 
Battalion, who were finally relieved by the Police in 1860. 

CHAP. ir. 


1 1st (in Madias) Native Veteran Battalion, Head-quarters, Fort St. George. 
2nd (in Arni) Native Veteran Battalion, Head-quarters, Cliingleput. 
3rd (in Ganjam) Native Veteran Battalion, Head-quarters, Chicacole. 
4th (in Dindigul) Native Veteran Battalion, Head-quarters, Dindigul. 

90 SALEM. 


Population— Growth- DenBity— Lakouagk — EKI,Uilo^'^'— Christians — Iluiuan 
Catholic Missions — London Mission— Lutheran MiRsions. Mdiiammadans — 
Mahari-ain. Hindus — Villages— Houses — Dross — Tattooing — Food — Games. 
Rkliuion — I. Brahiuanic — (A) Siva — (li) Vishnu. IL Panilava Cult 
III. Maninatlia Cult. IV. Vlra-Saivas. V. Grama Dovatus, comprising (A). 
Ayyanar Cult— (B) Sakti Cnlts — (C) Demon Cults— Hook -swinging. Social 
Organisation— Caste — Kight and Left Hand Factions — Polity — Ordeals- 
Oaths. Customs — Pollution- Childbirth — Customs of (!hildhooil — Marriage 
CuBtoms- Funeral Castoms. Scrvey ok Castks— (A) Hrahnians- (B) Non- 
Brnhraans — (1) Agricultural— (i) Tamil — Volliilars — Pallia— Njittilns— 
Agamndaiyans — Udaiyiins- Vottnvans — Malniyalis — (ii) 'Jelugu— Kfipun — 
Kanimas — (iii) Kanarese — ynkkiligas. (2) Pastoral — Idaiyans — Kurubas — 
GoUaN. (3) Fishermen — Sembadavans. (4) Hunftera — Vodars and Bc^dars, 
(5) Traders — Chettis — Ralijas. (0) Industrial — (i) VVeavcrs — Kaikolars — 
■ D6vangas^(ii) Oil-presaers — Vaniyare — (iii) Toddy-drawers— Shilaiirs — 
(iv) Potters — (v) Sall-workei-s — Uppiliyans — (vi) Mat-makers — Vf-dak- 
kilrans — (vii) Ariizans- Kammiilars. (7) Labourars — Oddars -- Pailans. 
(8) Menials — Barbers — Dliobies. (9) Military Castes — Marathas. (10) 
Sectarian — Lingtiyats. (11) Mendicants. (12) Miscellaneous — Kanakkans — 
Satanis — Koravas — Dommaras — Lanihadis — Irulas. (13) Panclianias — 

PopiJLATioK. Though Census Statistics can claim no scientific accnraoy prior 

to 1871, yet the estimates of 

Year. op ulation. population made at earlier periods 

.r..,.., since the liritish occupation arc 

• oQQ fil2 87l •' '^*^^ Without thoir inttrest. Iho 

1835 905,190 marginal statement gives gueh 

•838 898,2:13 figures as are available. It will 

\m '.'.'. IS221 bo observed that, during a century 

jgP^j * ' i'6i9'233 0^ British Rule, the population 

1871 1,906,995 has nearly quadrupled, an elo- 

1878 1,559,896 3 quont testimony to -the Pax 

]^\ ]'Zlit!i Britanniea. The total for 1901 

1891 ... ... 1,962,691 , ,» ■y^^ 

1901 2 204,974 ^^^ Over half a million greater 

1911 1,766,680 4 than the total population of Wales 

in that year ; after the excision of 

1 Bead's estimate of 594,252 excludes, of oourse, the Balaghat. The estimate 
for 1850 exclusive of the Balaghat is 1,054,958. 

* The figui'es apply to South Salem and Coimbatore — vide part II, p. 58. 
' Famine Census. Drop due to Famine of 1876-77. 

* Drop due to exclusion of Niimakkal and Tiru])pattOr Taluki*. 



Namakkal and Tiiuppattur, tlic total for 1911 is about double that OHAP. III. 
of Wales less Glaraorganshiro. Population. 

The fluctuations in population since 1871 is a matter of great Growth of 
interest, in view of the devastations caused by the Great Famine of population. 
1876-77. Prom columns 2, (>, 7 and 8 of the subjoined statement 
it will be seen that the Baramahal suffered far more than the 
Talaghat, and recovered much more slowly ; that the Balaghat 
fared worse even than the Baramahsxl, failing to recover itself for 
three decades ; and that, of the Talaghat taluks, Attur possesses 
by far the greatest power of resistance, being virtually famine- 
proof. It will also be noted that the rate of increase in the decade 
1881-91 immediately following the Famine was, except in Hosur, 
nearly double that of the next decade (1891-191)1); and that in 
the latter decade the increase varies inversely with the decrease in 
1881. By 1891 the southern taluks had recovered theii equili- 
brium between population and food supply, and the northern 
taluks had not. 


Krishiiagiri ... 
Dhaniiapnri .,, 
iJttankaiai ... 




Salem District 




— 3D 

— 29 

— 27 

— 27 

— 19 














+ m 

+ 18] 

+ 5-; 

+ 2(J 

+ 15i 

+ Ki 

+ 3J 

+ 15i 

+ !•;- 

+ 26 

+ t.5i 

- 1^ 

+ -m 

+ m 


+ 30 

+ m 


+ 15J 

+ t» 

+- i 

+ 23j 

+ 12J- 



— 2ii 

— 12 

+ l-'l 







+ 3 

+ 10 

+ IJ 

+ lOi 

+ 17^ 

+ 22^ 

+ I'U 


+ 3^ 

+ <'\ 

•f 20 

+ -i 

+ 27^ 

* Not known, as the Taluk boinidaries were modified before the Census of 1911 was 

The number of persons per square mile in 1911 was 280, against Density. 
230 for Wales in the same year. The density in the Balaghat is 
16 i, in the Baramahal 224, in the Talaghat 392. Salem and 
Tiruchengodu are the most thickly populated taluks, and Omalur 
stands third. Next to Hosur, the most sparsely peopled area 
is tJttankarai.' 

^ The followiag statement shows the number of persons per square mile in 
each taluk in 1911 : — 


Krishnagiri . 
Uttaukarai . 












CHAP. III. With the sole exception of Salem City/ the population shows 

Population, no very marked tendeuc}' to gravitate to towns, of which only 

seven are recognised in the Census Lists.*"^ 
LAHaoAaE. Out of every 1,000 of the population, 747 speak Tamil as their 

house language, 148 Telugu, 76 Kanavese. 22 Hindustani, 4 Pat- 
nuli and 3 Marathi. In other words, about three-fourths of the 
total population are Tamil, a little over oneoightli Telugu, and a 
little over one-sixteenth Kanarose. 

The percentage of Tamil speakers is 81 in the Talaghat and 
74 in the Baramahal ; in the lialaghat it falls to 43. Telugu is 
fairly evenly distributed tliroughout the District, owiug to the 
number of Telugu ryots who settled in the Talaghat in the wake 
of Vijayanagar conquests. Kanarcse on the other hand is most 
in evidence in the Balaghat, wheroit exceeds 30 per cent., and in 
the Northern Bfiramahal Taluks of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, 
where it is just under 10 per cent. In the remaining taluks of the 
District the Kanareso speakers aro under 6 per cent., falling in 
Attur to 2 per cent- Hindustani, and also Marathi, arc more fre- 
quently met with iu the Balaghat and Baramalial than in the 
Talaghat ; the proportion is highest in llosur, Krishnagiri coming 
second. This is clearly due to the circumstance that Hosur and 
Krishnagiri have had a more martial past than the rest of the 
District. Patnuli (a dialect of Gfujarati, sometimes written in 
Telugu characters) is confined to the silk-weavers of Salem. The 
Lambadi dialect is spoken by 855 persons, mostly iu Jfosur, 
Dharmapuri and tJttankarai, and 202 persons (mostly in 
tJttankarai) are returned as speaking the Yerukala or Korava 

Tamil is understmid throughout the District, except in cciiain 
parts of the Balaghat whore Kanareso predominates. The quality 
of the Tamil spoken is not pure, but a detailed account of the 
local dialect is beyond the scope of this book, liyots are very apt 
to substitute I for r, and vice versa, especially with foreign words ; 

Salem City increased from 10,000 in 1801 to 70,000 odd in 1901— vide 
infra, Vol. II, p. 247. 

























Kaveripatnam ... 









e.g., '* lubber" instoad of "rubber," or " ran tern " instead of CHAl'. III. 
" lantern ". Not infrequently v (<a;) is substituted for p or b {u) Lanquagb. 
{e.g.^ (otsiSij^i^iT instead of ei^u^i^rr)^ and sometimes y (iii) takes the 
place of s (c^) (e </., Sriaivayan instead of Srinivasan). Another 
local peculiarity is the occasional substitution of k («) for 6 (u), 
e.g.i the familiar name Sabraraaniyam is often corrupted 
to Sukkramani or Sukku, a ohango which suggests the familiar 
philological equation cquus = hippos. The letter (p is usually 
pronounced like err. 

Though most Muhammadans profess to speak Hindustani, the 
house language of the Libbais is ordinarily Tamil, and of the Pin- 
jaris Telugu (p. 104). The majority of the Muhammadans in the 
northern taluks are returned as speaking Hindustani, but, in the 
ultra-Tamil Taluks of Tirucbengodu and Attur, only two-thirds 
and one-half, respectively, of the Muhammadans appear to know of 
the language. 

The polyglot character of the District must have presented 
serious difficulties to Eead and his Assistants. The paimaish records 
of Salem, Attur and Tiruchengodu are written in Tamil. One- 
fifth of those at Uttankarai are in Tamil, two-fifths in Kanarese 
two-fifths in Marathi. The Marathi is corrupted witli a number of 
Hindustani words. Nine-tenths of the Dharmapuri records are 
in Kanarese, the rest being in Marathi, Tamil and Hindi. 
In Krishaagiri, two-thirds are in Kanarese, one-third in Marathi' 
In Tiruppattur, half are in Tamil, half in Telugu. Lastly in 
Hosur throe-fourths of the accounts are in Kanarese and one- 
fourth in Marathi. Marathi was the official language of the District 
till 1851, when Mr. Phillips procured the Board's sanction for its 
abolition in revenue correspondence. In October 1854 the Board 
ordered that the practice of submitting jamdhandi accounts to their 
office in Marathi should be discontinued ; thenceforward the 
Marathi language ceased to have any official existence in the 

Of every thousand inhabitants, 967 are Hindus, 25 Muham- kkligions. 
madans and 8 Christians. The Muhammadans are above the 
District average in Hosur (55 per mille), Krishnagiri (45), and 
Uttankarai (32 j ; the Christians only in Salem and Attur (each 
13 per raille). The proportion of Muhammadans for the District is 
less than half that for the Presidency. 

Christians in 1911 numbered 15,002 or less than one percent. Christiaxs. 
of the total population. Of these, 584 were Europeans or Eurasians, 
and 14,418 were Indians. Of the Indian Christians, 13,301, or 92 
por cent, were Eoman Catholics, the remaining 8 per cent, being 
divided among the various Protestant denominations ; 652 (rather 





Catholic 1 

less than 5 per cent.) belonged to the London Mission,' 177 to the 
various Luthorau Missions, 124 were Anglicans, and the remainder 
were attached to minor sects, or were unspecified. - 

St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of India, came from Portugal 
to Goa in 1540, and made inuumerable converts during the ten 
years of his ministration in the country. The work begun by him 
was taken up by the Jesuit Fathers towards the end of the sixteenth 
century. In IG06 the celebrated Kobert de'Nobili, a relation of 
Pope Julius III, arrived in Madura, and entered on a career of 
preaching which lasted 40 years. His early work was in Madura. 
Deeply versed in all the languages aud customs of the country, 
he made himself '* all things to all men " to win the people to the 
faith. He adopted the habit of life of tho Brahmaus, was attended 
by Brahmau servants only, and observed in the minutest particulars 
the customs of those in whose midst he sojourned. 

In June 1623, after he had set the Christian Church at Madura 
on a firm basis, Robert de'Nobili loft Madura for tlie north. 
Tirumala Nayaba had but lately acceded to the throne, and had 
made Trichinopoly his residence. There were a few Christians at 
his Court, but de'Nobili could do little work among them, as every 
one was in a turmoil of warlike preparations. De'Nobili, therefore, 
pursued his journey to Sonda-mangalam (in Namakkal Taluk), 
whore he was well received by the reigning prince, Ramaohandra 
Navaka, a vassal of Madura, who offered him a handsome site on 
which to build a church. Kobert de'Nobili, however, intent on 
further conquests, was forced for the moment to decline the 
generous offer, and pushed on to Salem, then ruled by Salapatti 
Nilyaka, another feudatory of Madura. At the outset, the 
populace of Salem adopted an attitude of hostility to the efforts of 
the '* great Sanyasi. " Every gate was shut against him, and 
he had to content himself with the shelter of a wretched chn?^adi, 
exposed on all sides to wind and rain. Here he remained forty 
days, during which he fell seriously ill. At length one of the 
townsfolk, moved with pity, offered him the shelter of his house ; 
the offer was accepted, and everything at once assumed a now 

1 The mission retnrna give a total of 1,108. which inclades, no doubt, most of 
those who aro " unspcoiriod " in the Census returns. 

- Mission work seems ratlier stagnant, if the marginal figures are correct. 

The totals exclude fif,'ure.s for Namakkal 
and Tiruppattur. Even then the total 
for 1011 is lower than that for liiOl by 
12 per cent., and has even fallen bolow 
that of 1891 ; while the increnso be- 
tween 1881 and 1901 is only 13 percent, 
against 51 per cent, for the total popula- 
tion of the saiao taluks. 



Nunibor of 
1 5,003 


aspect. The preacher recovered his health ; the feelings of the CIIAP. ill. 
people changed ; those who had hitherto rejected the Apostle Ciiristianb. 
became eager to hear him. The Eajaof Salem expressed a desire 
to see him, and offered to grant him wliatever favour be desired. 
Oe'Nobili replied that he desired nothing but his friendship. The 
prince assured him he would always remain his friend, and 
allotted him a house in the Brahman quarter to live in.' People 
flocked to him for instruction, and a number of miracles won their 
conversion. Among his most earnest listeners was Tirumangala 
Nayaka, elder brother of Ramachandra Nayaka, the Eilja of 
Senda-mangalam, who had driven him from his kingdom. About 
the end of 1624, Robert de'Nobili left Salem for Cochin to visit 
his Provincial. The Salem Mission seemed firmly established, 
and there was every prospect of Tirumangala Nayaka and his 
sons, the eldest of whom was heir-apparent of the Senda-manga- 
lam chieftaincy, embracing Christianity. Political intrigues, 
however, made havoc of his plans, and Tirumangala Nayaka had 
to flee for safety from Salem to the Eaja of " Moramangalam " ^ 
There he wrote to Robert de'Nobili to come and baptise him with 
his family. Robert responded to bis call, but, thanks again to 
political intrigues, he met with a very cool reception at the bands 
of the Raja, who granted him no place of residence. De'Nobili 
had to content himself with a wretched hovel. However, before 
long, Tirumangala brought him his four sons to be baptised, and 
after some hesitation he himself received baptism on Christmas 
Day, 1625. Numerous conversions followed, a church was built 
and the mission prospered, "Moramangalam" was placed in 
charge of Father Emmanuel Martiuz,'^ who had come with Robert 
de'Nobili from Cochin in the previous year, and Robert returned 
to Madura (1626 A.D.). 

The subsequent history of the " Moramangalam" mission is losfc.^ 
The zeal of the Jesuit Missionaries, however, did not flag. 

1 Launay, Histoire des Missions de Vfnde, Vol. I, p. xiv, cf. Bertrand 
La Mission du Madure, Vol. II, p. 225 to 251. 

'' Possibly one of the Gatti Mudaliyars of Amarakuudi, adjoining the 
modern village of Mara-mangalam ; vide p. 69. In Bertrand, Vol. IJ, p. 242, 
" Moramangalam " is said to be " eight leagues from Salem". Mara-mangalam is 
about 5 miles north-west of Omalur. The Mudalis of Mara-mangalam aro 
mentioned in an inscription of the 14th year of Jatavarman Sundara-Pandya II, 
1290 A.D., vide G.E. No. 23 of 1900. 

3 See Bertrand, Vol. II, pp. 251 and 271 . According to Launay, p. xiv, Ant. 
Vico was in charge. 

* Father Martinz was in charge in 1626 (Bertrand, Vol. II, p. 271) ; in 
Docember 1628 Father Laerzio wrote " The Fathers aro building houses and 
churches at Moramangalam and in a place near Salem," but after 1628 the letters 
are silent. 

96 SALEM. 

CHAP. III. It is possible that in 1648 Robert de'Nobili revisited the 
Christians. Christian settlements he had founded on his way to JMylapore 
where he spent the last eight years of his life.' In about 1050 the 
Mysore Mission was founded from Goa, and their centre of opera 
tions appears to have been Seringapatam. In 1675 Father Jean de 
Britto visited Dharmapuri, where he found a flourishing mission in 
charge of two European priests, Fathers Antoine Eibeira and 
Mouooiarelli-, wliom he describes as " Missionaries of Mysore." ^ In 
1678 Omaliir and Salem are spoken of as Missionary " provinces*' 
attached to the Madura Mission.* Between 1678 and 1685 no 
fewer than six Fathers in tlie Madura Mission died, and, owing 
to the paucity of workers, the Madura Mission handed over a 
large tract of country, including most of Coimbutore District and 
part of Salem, to the Mysore Mission.* It is also recorded that 
Father de Britto, after his return from Europe, made his way from 
Gingee through the wild forests of the Javadis to Dharmapuri 
whence he proceeded to the Marava country, the scene of his mar- 
tyrdom in 1 693. 

Moanwhi-le, in 1663, the Capuchins landed inPondicherry and 
assumed cliarge of the European congregations. In 1685) the 
Jesiiit Fathers, who had been expelled from Siara, took over mis- 
sion work among the Indians. Another wave of missionary 
enthusiasm brought Father Bcschi, ^ with a body of priests from 
Goa, to evangelise the Tamils. Early in the eighteenth century 
there were mission stations at " Capinagati " and ' Caguti " in 
Hosur Taluk, and a letter from Father San lago to Father 
Manoel Savay, dntcd *'Capinagati, ^ August 8, 1711 ^' relates how 
Father Dacunha was ill-treated and wounded at Caguti, and died 
of his wounds at Capinagati. It was perhaps in the early part 

* Robert de'Nobili died on January 16, 1G5G, at the age of 80. 
» Bertrand, Vol. Ill, p. 255. 

' Accordinj^ to tlie account prepared for Mr. LeFanu by Fatlior Thirion 
they were called Susia-pere-Swamiar and Antoniar. " Tradition has it that, in 
the outset a European priest was appointed exclusively to minister to the 
higher castes and was called the ' Priest of Brahmans', while another, called 
' Pandaram-Swiimi ' ministered to the Pariahs, so that caste prejudices should 
not stay the progress of conversions." 

* Bertrand, Vol. Ill, p. 296. 

* These particulars have been kindly supplied by the Eev. Father L, 
Besse of Trichinopoly. 

^ Father Beschi served the Madura Mission from 1711 to 1740, when he 
retired to the Malabar Coast. He died there on February 4, 1747, 

' See Hissiovs de V Ivde, Vol. I, p. Ixiv. Capinagati is probably to be identi- 
fied with Kappiganatli, half a mile north of Kela-mangalam, and Caguti might 
be E^adudi, 7 miles south-east of Kela-mangalam. If tlicFe identifications are 
correct, M. Launay should have written " southeast " instead of " south-west " 
but ihe distances given by him are approximately accurate. 


of tho eighteenth century that tlie Christian settlement of Tigalara- citap. Iir. 
halli (1^ miles north of Tali), was colonised from Dharmapuri and Christians. 
Gftnjfim (Seringapatam), under Goaneso influence. From 
Tigalara-halli the community migrated ^ to Matagonda-palli, 
where land was granted them, it is said, by the villagers, in 
gratitude for rains which fell in a season of drought in answer 
to the prayers of the new settlers. 

By the middle of the ciglitoenth century it was estimated that 
the number of convei-fs amounted to three millions. But raisfor- 
time was at hand. In 1773 the Society of Jesus was suppressed, 
"a misfortune felt as irreparable to tho present day, for the 
missions oflndia, founded at the price of so many privations, being 
deprived of their misfiionaries, many of the Christian communi- 
ties were lost, and it was not till the beginning of the nineteenth 
century that the work could be seriously taken on hand."^ As 
a temporary measure, on the destruction of the Order, the care of 
their congregations was made over to the Bishop of Verapolj. 
In 1776 the Mission of the Karnatic was entrusted to the priests 
of the Paris Society of Foreign Missions, in whoso charge Salem 
District still remains, Bnt before the work of reconstruction 
could be got under way, a still more serious blow to the Christian 
cause in Salera District was inflicted by the persecutions of Tipu. 

The history of Tipu's persecution concerns more directly the 
history of Mysore. It began in 1784, and continued till 1787, 
when Tipu received tho envoys of Louis XV'I, and negotiations 
were opened for its cessation. Meanwhile missionaries were expel- 
led, churches destroyed, and Indian Christians given the choice 
between the " Honour of Islam and death." The Christian com- 
munities at " Capinagati '^ and " Oaguti ^' vanished. The churches 
at Tigalara-halli, Chikkana-halli (near Anekal) and Selve-kuppam 
(near Matagonda-palli) were swept away, and all that remains is 
a tamarind tree in Tigalara-halli, and a- stone cross in each of the 
other two hamlets, which mark the traditional site of the buildings 
which perished. Orders were given for the destruction of Koviltir 
(near Adaman-kottai) and Kadagattur, but these two settlements, 
as well as Edappadi and Kalkaveri, appear to have survived the 

On the defeat of Tipu after the Third Mysore War, the work 
of reconstruction began in earnest, under the auspices of the 
famous Abbe Dubois/ who " fled from the horrors of the French 

^ The reason for this migration and ita date are not known, vide Launay, 
loo. cit. 

^ P6re Thirion, loc. cit. 

' Vide letter of the Abb^ Dubois to Colonel Read, dated September 13, 1797. 

98 SALEM. 

CHAP.. III. Ilevolution ^' in 1792, and was attached to the Pondicherry Mission. 

Christians. The Abbe was the fourth of the Missionaries sent for the work of 
reorganisation by Mgr, Nicholas Champenois, Bishop of Doliche, 
and Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry.^ " We took profit, '^ wrote 
the Abbe in 1793, " of the tolerance and protection accorded by 
the British to every religion to penetrate into the provinces 
acquired by them, and took care of the Christians dispersed by tho 
persecution of Tipu Sultan. We gathered together three or four 
thousand souls in four or five of the principal churches, and I took 
charge of the congregation." 

The Abbfe's work lay more particularly in the territory ceded 
by Tipuj and he seems to have had a special fondness for Salem 
District. The ruined churches were rebuilt, partly at the Abbe's 
expense, and partly by the congregation. In 1797 the Abbe 
had occasion to complain to Colonel Read that efforts were 
being made by certain Groanese Missionaries to subvert his spirit- 
ual authority, and oust him from his churches. 

"Black Priests," ho wrote, "have arrived from tho Malabar Coast in this 
oonntry, and lodged, without my permission, without even preventing me, in my 
several ohurches. Amazed by the boldness and impoliteness of snoli a conduct, I 
asked the cause of it, when I was answered that thoy came to take this mission 
from mo, and to take possession of all the Christian churches in Bavamahal and 
Salem's country ; saying that I was nothing else but an usurper, and that if I 
should oppose any difficulty to their undertakings, they were bearei-s of orders 
from the Right Honourable the Governor of Madras t3 compel mo to leave 
without delay this country, and that the orders of which they are bearers are of 
so compelling a nature that they leave no choice or alternative. Their bold and 
determined discourses filled me with surprise and care . . . The calumnies 
they have spread everywhere against me among those ignorant and credulous 
people, by saying that I am a French priest, and that all tho Frenchmen have, 
Hince their revolution, fallen into heresy, and have been, without exception, 
excommunicated by tho Pope, that the doctrine I am announcing is not the 
true doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, that tho Engli-jh Government, sensi- 
ble of all these motives, has entrusted thorn with the charge of all the missions 
in this country, these anda thousand other absurd discourses, and above all their 
likeness, by colour, manners and morals, with the people of this country, have 
won them the affection and confidence of all ; and they are received and triumph- 
ing in all my churches, while despise 1 of all, I am obliged to fly from a cottage 
to another, and I hardly meet with persons compassionate enough to give mo 
shelter in their thatched houses,* " 

1 The Abbd was born in 1765, and ordained in the Diocese of Viviers in 
1792, the year of his departure for India. He returned to France in 1823, and at 
once became Director of the Missions Etrang^res in Paris. He died in 1848 at 
the age of 83. See Hindu Manners, Customs and Gerenonies (ed. H. K. Boau- 
ohamp), Clarendon Press, 1897. 

2 Letter of Abb6 Dubois to Colonel Read, dated September 13,1797. See 
Correspondence between Abbe Dubois and Col. Alexander Read on the subject of 
the Disputes between Ahh^ Dubois and the Black Priests, Government Press 
Madras, 1905. 


Col. Read replied that Le could not interfere in matters of CHAP. ill. 
spiritual jurisdiction, and advised the Abbe to compound with his Christiaks. 
persecutors. The Abbe then waived the question of spiritual right, 
but claimed compensation for the cost incurred by him in building 
'•' Churches and Lodgings" in the District. The correspondence' 
does not state exactly how the matter was settled, but the Abbe's 
work by no means suffered. The British authorities allowed him 
»,n annual grant of Bs. 42 for the church at Dharmapuri-Kovilur, 
and similar grants for those at Kalkaveri and Tiruppattur.^ After 
the fall of Seringapatam, he was invited ^ to proceed thither to 
reorganise the Mysore Mission, and he worked there till 1823. 
He did not, however, lose interest in Salem District, and used 
periodically to visit Eaya-kota and Krishnagiri. Major Bevan 
gives the following account of him : — 

" He presided over the whole of the Catholics in the Salem and Baramahal 
districts, A residence of thirty years in India, and a life spent among the 
natives on a moat friendly and intimate footing, whose dress and habits he in 
some measure adopted, combined with his talents and other acquirements, 
enabled him to form a just estimate of the characteristic traits of the Indians. 
His flock looked up to him with the esteem and reverence that he merited. His 
views, with reference to the conversion of the heathen, were rather against his 
success. He warmly advocated the rights and privileges of the Hindus, 
especially the female part, declaring that they possessed those moral and 
correct feelings which form the bond of social intercourse and the basis of 
domestic happiness.* " 

The history of the nineteenth century is one of steady pro- 
gress. In 1838 Grregory XVI established the Vicariate Apostolic 
of the Coast of Coromandel. In 1850 Pius IX divided the field 
into the three Apostolic Vicariates of Pondicherry, Mysore and 
Coimbatore. In 1886 Leo XIII constructed the Vicariate 
Apostolic of Pondicherry into an Archbishopric and Mysore became 
a Diocese. A year later Pondicherry was made the Metropolitan 
See of an Ecclesiastical Province. In 1899 Leo XIII erected the 
Diocese of Kumbakonam, by dismemberment from the Archdiocese 
of Pondicherry. 

Salem District at present is divided between the Archdiocese 
of Pondicherry, the Diocese of Kumbakonam, and that of 
Mysore. The major portion of the District falls within tbe 

^ " For building Kalkaveri's Church and lodging 150 rupees, for Edappadi's 
lodging 51 rupees, for Dharmapuri's lodging 47 rupees, for getting a statue 
of St. Peter for Tiruppattur's church 18 rupees — Total 269 rupees " (Letter of 
October 8, 179V). 

- Launay, Vol. I, p. 191. 

^ According to the Mysore Gazetteer, Vol. I, p. 483, the invitation came from 
the Catholic congregation. Mr. Beauchanip refers to a statement that the 
invitation was given by Col. Wellesley himself {Hindu Manners and Cnntoms^ 

* Thirty Tears in India, Vol. I, p. 77. 





The London 

jurisdiction of the Poadicherry See, and contains nine stations. 
In the Talaghat there are stations at Salem, Attur and Akkara- 
varam^, half way between the two ; a fourth at Setti-patti, a 
hamlet of ICaioalapuram, near Omaliir ; and a fifth at Edappadi. 
On the Shevaroys, Tercaiid and Balniadies are treated as one 
station. Dharmapuri Taluk is served by Kovilur near Adaman- 
kottai, and Kadagattur. The jurisdiction of the former extends 
over the southern part of tJttankarai Taluk. Krishnugiri Taluk 
is served by the mission at Elattagiri, and the northern portion 
of TJttankarai from Kovilur, three miles from Tiruppattur town. 
In 1907 eight French and two Indian priests were working in 
the portion of the District included within the limits of the 
A^rchdiocese. The Diocese of Kumbakdnam is bounded on the 
north by the Vellilr, or rather that branch of it which in Salem 
District is called the Swota-nadi. It contains two stations, viz., 
Koneri-patti in the south of Attiir Talul<, and Kalkaveri 
(Kakkavori) near Rasipuram. There is only one Salem station 
within the Diocese of Mysore, namely Mattigiri. 

The congregation of the European and Native Sisters of St. 
Joseph of Clany have a branch at Yorcaud, where a boarding 
school is maintained. At Yercaud there are also Convents 
belonging to the Presentation Nuns of St. Joseph's, Vepery, and 
St. Mary's, Madras. The Congregation of the Native Nuns of the 
Sacred Heart of Mary, established in 18 tt under the rules of the 
Third Eegular Order of St. Francis of Assisi for the instruction 
of native girls, maintain schools at Akkaravaram, Kovilur, 
Salem, Setti-patti and Elattagiri. 

In June 1827 Messrs. Tyorman and Bennet, on behalf of the 
London Missionary Society, selected Salem as a field for missionary 
effort, and in October of the same year the first Missionai-y, the 
Eev. Henry Crisp, began his task. He took over from the Col- 
lector, Mr. M. D. Cockbum , five small schools, which were at 
the time under the Collector's management. Mr. Crisp met with 
a good deal of opposition, and in Ammapet ho was mobbed and 
stoned. In 1829 he was deprived by death of the devoted assist- 
ance of his wife ; his own health gave way shortly after, and in 
1832 an attack of malaria proved fatal. In that year the first 
church was built, and two converj^ were baptised. 

Mr. Crisp's successor was the Rev. George Walton, an East 
Indian, whose work, lasting over eight years, was crippled by ill- 
health. Mr. Walton got involved in serious loss by litigation for 

1 Hamlet of Kari-patti. 

* The information on the rjondoii Mission has beon furnished by the Rev. 
W, Robinson. 


which he was iu now ay responsible ; the Famine of 1833 added CHAP.iJi 
to his troubles ; in 1839 Mrs. Walton died, and two years later CuRisTuyg. 
he himself succumbed. 

Shortly before Mr. Walton's death, he was joined by the Rev. 
J. M. Lechler, a distiogaished Tamil scholar, who had been 
associated with the great missionary Rhenius. Mr. Lechler 
vigorously revived the Mission work in outlying stations, specially 
in Attur Taluk. Ably helped by his wife, he opened homes in 
Salem for training the children of converts, and taught them 
weaving, carpentry, blacksmiths' work, mat-making and other 
industries. Artizan missionaries from Germany were employed, 
and, thanks to the efforts of Mr. C. Rahm, who for ten years 
developed the v/ork with ungrudging effort, the Industrial School 

In June 1861, Mr. Lechler died. What followed was "a 
series of blunders worse than crimes." " Two elderly Mission- 
aries of the old regime/' writes the Rev. J. P. Ashton, " had seen 
fit to smash up, in one day, the two boarding schools and the 
industrial school. I could never understand the reason of this 
step, unless it was they were much too successful and financially 
prosperous institutions to be tolerated in a mofussal station. We 
juniors could only helplessly look on at the destruction.^' 

In 1862 the Rev. G. Mabbs and his wife came to Salem, and 
had to inherit the blunders of their immediate predecessor. Papers 
and documents were in a terrible state of confusion, and the 
Mission is indebted to the careful patience of Mr. Mabbs for 
reducing the chaos of the Mission records to order. Mr. Mabbs 
was succeeded by the Rev, W.E. Morris, who had laboured already 
in Coimbatore, and had a unique mastery over the dialectical 
vagaries of the Tamil language. His career was prematurely 
cut short by an attack of sun-stroke, and early in 1870 he was 
relieved by the Rev. Henry Toller, who died of cholera within a 
few days of his arrival, leaving his young widow to return home 
in the ship which brought her to India as a bride. 

In 1862 the Rev. Mr. Phillips was appointed to Tiruppattur, 
and took up his residence in that station. Mr. Phillips laboured 
earnestly as a vernacular preacher, and gave a great impetus to 
work in the northern half of the District. When Mr. Toller died, 
the Directors of the Society decided to give up Salem. In 42 
years four Missionaries and three of the ladies of the Mission had 
died, and two men had been compelled to retire because of broken 
health. It was therefore declared advisable to ask the Arcot 
Mission to take charge of Salem. This proposal was set aside, 
however, and the Rev. Mr. Phillips was directed to take over the 





work at Salem. He did so, retaining Tiruppattur. Henceforward 
the work of the MiKsion steadily progressed. In 1891 the 
Australian Auxiliary Society scut Miss Cox as a Zenana Mis- 
sionary. After 11 months of work she was compelled to retire 
owing to ill-health, and was succeeded by Miss Crouch and Miss 
Lodge. In 1908 the Rev. Geo. Wilkins started mission work in 
Hosur, in connection with the Bangalore Kauareso Mission. 

In 1907 an interesting work was started among the Koravas of 
the Salem-Attur valley, a number of whom had expressed a desire 
to become Christians and lead a settled and honest life. As many 
of them were on the " K.D." register, and hud no permanent 
abode, it became necessary to bring them together into one 
settlement. Mr. Eobinson accordingly darkhasted for a piece of 
waste land near Sukkampatti, about half way between Salom and 
the Manjavadi Ghat, and settled ton families upon it. The people 
built their own houses, and pay kist for their land through the 
Mission. The Mission assumed responsibility for the good 
conduct of the settlers. A code of rules was drawn up and strictly 
enforced ; the catechist in charge has to see that each member 
of the community is in his house at night, and enters his name in 
a register, and a Police constable visits the place every night and 
checks the register. Crime has not been entirely banished, but it 
has decreased to a surprising extent, and on several occasions the 
Tillagers themselves have reported cases of theft, and given the 
offenders over to the authorities. The settlement is now known as 
Elizabethpet, and in 1912 numbered 56 souls. A similar settle- 
ment was established in 1909 at Muttampatti by Mr. Robertson, 
and in 1912 it numbered 84 members. 

In 1912, in addition to the Mission work in Salem Town, there 
are congregations in Yereaud, Attur, Viraganfir, Kondri-patti, 
Sendara-patti, Sankaridrug, Kira-patti, Elizabethpet, Muttampatti, 
Toppa-patti (near Easipuram), all attached to the Salom Mission, 
and at Dharmapuri, Harur, Elattagiri in the Tiruppattilr Mission.^ 
In addition to the three churches in Salem, there are churches in 
Yereaud, Sankaridrug, Narasingapuram (AttCir), Kouori-patti, 
Sendara-patti, Dharmapuri, Palakodu and Elattagiri. 

The Missouri Evangelical Lutheran Mission started work ^ 
in the District in 1895 under the Eev. Theodor Naether, who, 
after travelling throughout the District, selected Krishnagiri as 

^ These congregations are estimated to number in all 1,108 souls. 

2 Under the auspices of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Mis- 
souri, Ohio and other States, one of the largest Lutheran bodies in North America, 
working chiefly among immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia. 




an unworked field. In the following year a second station was CHAP, TIT. 

opened at Am bur by the Eev. V. Mohii. In the latter part of Christians. 

1897 work was taken up in Vaniyanibadi by the Eev. E,. Freche, 

and in the following year the Eev. Gr. 0. Kellerbauer completed 

the chain by establishing a station at BargQr.^ Tlie four stations 

of Ambur, Vaiiiyambadi, Bargur and Krishnagiri form a compact 

little district for concentrated eifort. 

The Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission began work on the 
8hevaroys in 1862, and the first chapel was built on the hill on 
which- Mr. Rahm's bungalow now stands. A new chapel was 
begun in December 1 875, and consecrated in the following June. 
It stands, in the quarter of Yorcaud known as Lutherpet. 

A branch of the Danish Missionary Society was opened on the other 
Shevaroy Hills in 1883 by the Eev. Kofoed, who had to visit Missions. 
Yercaud on account of ill-health. The mission station is located 
on the flank of the Shevarayan, about 3 miles from Yercaud. 
Most of the missionary's work is among the Malaiyalis. 

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel maintains an 
Indian Priest at Salem. 

The Muhammadans number in all 43,421. Though they 
represent only 2^ per cent of the total popnlatiou of the District, 
their local settlements are of no small importance. This is es- 
pecially the case with the chief centres of trade, and with places 
which in former days wore garrisoned with troops. In such 
localities they sometimes exceed one-fourth of the total population.^ 

Muhammadans are commonly spoken of as divided into two 
classes, Dakhanis and Labbais; the former, as their name indicates, 
being regarded as immigrants from the Deccan, the latter as des- 
cendants of indigenous races. 

The Dakhanis class themselves as Sheikhs (24,387), Saiyads^ 
(6,800), Pathans (7,115) and Mughals (693), but, thanks to the 
fact that they are untrammelled by endogamous laws, these 
divisions have little or no ethnic significance. Their house 
language is Hindustani. 

The Labbais, who are returned as 3,851, are supposed to be of 
almost pure Dravidian descent. Their house language is Tamil 




^ Eaob of these pioneers had previous experience in Indian Mission work 
under the Leipzig Mission, wLich they left owing to their strict adherence to the 
doctrine of scriptural inspiration. 

- E.g. Denkani-kota, Hosur, Krishnagiii, Kela-mangalam, etc. 

^ Strictly ispeakihg a Saiyad is a direct descendant of the Prophet, a Sheikh 
a direct descendant of one of the first three Khalifas, a Sharif is the son of a 
Sheikh father by a Saiyad mother. 

104 SALEM. 

CHAP. in. jy^(j many of ttem do not understand Hindnstani. In most 

MADAN^ respects they are orthodox Suunis. It is said^ that they 

— ;- ohserve a number of Hindu customs, but no evidence of this is 

forthcoming so far as the Labbais of Salem District are concerned. 

They are a frugal and industrious community, and persevering 


injans. j^ addition to the Dakhanis and Labbais, there is a section of 

Muhammadans who speak a corrupt form of Telugu, aud are 
variously known as Pinjaris, Panjaris, Panju-vcttis, Achu-kattis 
or Dude-kulaa.* As their name implies, their distinctive means 
of livelihood is cotton-cleaning ; tiiey are also weavers and mat- 
makers. There arc several settlements of them ^ in Attur Taluk, 
and they are to be found in Ammapet, Tara-mangalam, Rasipuram, 
Hosur, Mattigiri and BSrikai. It is siiid that their customs 
approximate closely to those of the Hindus, that both men aud 
women dress like Hindus, that the wonicn wear a pottu, of red 
kunkumdm on their forehead, and that the men sometimes shave 
the beard and wear a hwiumi ; tali is tied at marriages ; they 
adopt Hindu terminations (Appa, Amma, ete.) ti) their names ; 
gosha is not observed ; they sometimes worship in Hindu Temples, 
and at Bakrid do puja to the implements with which they earn 
their livelihood, on the analogy of the Hindu Ayudha-puja, vSvioh 
practices are, however, by no means universal among them, aud the 
modern tendency is towards assimilation with orthodox Midiam- 
madau observances. 

In social and religious matters the Muhammadans of the larger 
towns are strongly organised into separate communities, each under 
its own committee (/aiiulyai). Many of the customs in vogue 
among the ruder classes are anathema to the orthodox, but the 
efforts at reform that arc from time to time made by zealous 
puritan preaehera exeite a great deal of opposition, and meet with 
little success. Among the chief items uf controversy are the use 
of green pandals, and of tom-toms and music on religious occasions, 
the employment of dancing girls at marriages, the tying of nddd 
(tape) round the wrist at Muharram. and the processions, masques 
and general procedure which characterise the celebration of the 
Muharram. Worship at the graves of firs (Saints), which is very 

* Seo, Caxtes and Tribes, b. v. — The CQBtums of the Labbaia have nevca- been 
systematically worked oat, aiul the available information on the sabjcct is scanty 
and vague. 

* Dudf-kula means in Telugu " coLton-cleaners " ; Panju-vetti is Tamil for 
the same; Achu-kalti means '* luom-making." Sec Castes and Tribes, II, )>. 195, 
B.v. Dudekula. 

■^ At Attur, Olaippadi, NadavalOr, Gaugavalli, Vlragantir, Tidavar and 
Tandavarayapuia m. 



prevalent in tLe District, is also discountenanced by the strict CHAP. HI. 
Mnsalinan. Tne bodies of Pirs are popularly supposed to be Mlham- 

incorruptible ; miracles are performed at their tombs, and oblations i 

(urs) are offered on the anniversary of their death. It is a ourions 
feature of these tomb-cults that Hindus frequently take part in 

The three chief Muhammadan festivals are, as elsewhere, (1) Festivals. 
Ramzan, (2) Baki*id and (3) Muharram. The Ramzan Kuthd 
celebrates the close of the Lenten Fast, which is observed through- 
out the mouth of Eamzan. The Bakrid commemorated Abraham's 
intended sacrifice of Ishmael (who in Muhammadan tradition 
takes the place assigned to Isaac in the Hebrew version), and is 
celebrated on the ninth day of the month Zillhaj. On both the 
Eamzan and Bakrid Kuthds all male Muhammadans shave them- 
selves and bathe, and, dressed in new clothes of the purest white, 
with shawls, turbans and vests of the gayest colours, flock en 
masse to the Idgas, or praying walls, situated on the outskirts of 
their town or village, and offer prayers. The Bakrid is also 
celebrated in each household that can afford it by the sacrifice of 
a sheep. To die on either of these festal days is held to be most 
fortunate, and the bodies of those who so die are carried to the 
Idga, and special prayers are recited over the biers at the conclu- 
sion of the Kutbd service. 

As already stated, the thirteen days' festival of Muharram, Muharram. 
which commemorates the defeat and martyrdom of Hussain at 
Kerbela (G80 A.D.), is accompanied by many ceremonies which 
violate the principles of Islam. The centre of operations is a 
Makhdn called AshUr-khdna or Alldswdmi Kovil, an unpretentious 
building where the panj'ds are kept and where the tdbuts are con- 
structed. The panjd is a metal device, mounted on a pole, which 
is supposed to represent the standard of Hussain ; its shape varies ; 
sometimes it is in the form of a hand, sometimes of a fieur-de-iis.'-^ 
The tdbut is a model of a mausoleum, constructed of paper, tinsel, 
mica, etc., mountod on a platform, which is carried on the 
shoulders of men in the manner of a Hindu wheel-less car. 

Among the most pleasing features of the Muhariam celebra- 
tions are the Giros, or troupes of brightly-clad boys, who fnliven 
the towns and villages with songs and dances. Oi the different 
guises there is infinite variety. In Salem City, these Giros are 
organised on an unusually elaborate scale, each quarter of the 

^ The first liiriaii Tlr WJis ALdiJl Kadir, who was born at Bagdad, A.H., 471 
(10'78-'79 A.D.) and died A.H., 571 (1175 A.D.). See Qanoon-e.Islam,i>. 432. 
* Vide the illustrations in Qanoon-e-Islam. 


106 SALEM. 

CHAP. III. town having its own particular masque.^ Roughly speaking the 
MunAM- Salem Giros are of two types, the Nanak ^ typo and the Pdkhand 
or Sanydsi type. 

In addition to the Giros, the Muhariam is made the occasion 
for a great display of individual veslianis, of which the familiar 
puli-vesham or tiger-masque is the most popular. Tho variety 
of guises is, however, too great for detailed description, and the 
proceesions are swelled hy athletes {pailxcam) from the local 
gymnasia {idlims) who give elaborate exhibitions of sword- plav, 
wrestling, fencing with sticks and clubs, and the innumerable feats 
of skill and dexterity in which athletic Mnsalmans delight. 

The opening days of the festival are spent in preliminary rites 
and ceremonies. The panjas are taken out daily from the Gth to 
the 10th days. On the evenings of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th 
days, it is usual for the Giros to visit one another at some selected 
rendezvous (chauk), and the night is passed ia songs, and dances, 
and ribald repartee which eometiraes leads to blows. Tho favourite 
meeting places are in Shevapet, Salera, Pension Lines, and tho 
Fort. The Fort chauk attracts a specially large oouoouvse, on 
account of its side-shows and tableaux.^ 

On the ninth night all tho tdbfds and panjas are carried in 
torchlight procession through the main bazaar street, accom- 
panied by the giros and their supporters, the tdltm-lars, and a vast 
crowd of Hindus and Muhammadans of both sexes. The order 
in which tho (jiros march is prescribed by custom, and should one 
fjiro dash forward to get in front of another which claims preced- 
ence, a free fight is likely to ensue. On tho afternoon of the 
tenth day (the Shahfidat-ka-roz or Day of Martyrdom) idbuis, 
panjdi^ (/iros, cic, are assembled on the left bank of the river 
above the bridge, and conducted in procession through the two 
Agraharams to tho river bank, beside the anaikat near Fischer's 
compound. The lads who carry the panjas, some of whom are 
mounted on ponies, not infrequently display the most extra- 
ordinary symptoms of religious hysteria, swaying to and fro like 
drunken men, oblivious to their surroundings, and apparently 
endowed with preternatural, strength. When the procession 
arrives at tho anaikat, tho panjas are taken out of tho tdbTits, and 
the domes of the tdlTds are taken off and placed inside. All the 

^ A list of 47, by no means exhaustive, ia given in Qanoon-a-ldam, pp. 189 
to 216. 

^ Apparently connected with Nanak, the founder of the Sikhs, See Qanoon. 
e-IsZam, pp. 212 and 435. 

^ See Qanoon-e-Isia/n, p. 208. Several of tahe tbleaux therein described are 
to be seen at the Fort chauk. 

TttK PEOPLE. 107 

panjds aro sprinkled with water, and faiiha^ is offered. The CHAP. Ill 
tnbrds are covered with cloths and carried back to the Ashnrkhana, Mo"am- 


kept there for tliree days, and tlien dispaantled. The panjds are 

carefully stored, and the festival is at an end. 

One of the most distinctive features of the Muharram in the pj^e. 
larger towns is the fire-walking ceremony, which usually takes walking, 
place on the eighth or ninth night of the festival. One or more 
circular pits {aldv) are dug in the public street, or in an open space 
fronting one of the AUdswdmi KovUs. The pits aro from 4' to 
6' deep,, and from 8' to 10' in diameter. In the afternoon a 
bonfire is lighted in each pit, and is kept burning till about mid- 
night. The flames are then allowed to die down for half an hour 
or so, and sometimes some salt is sprinkled on the embers to pre- 
vent the flames from flickering. A few steps are then cut in 
the earth of the pit's edge, and the devotees are led up to the 
brink, one at a time. The devotees are usually in a frantic state 
of religious excitement and shout " Ali, Ali." Then one by one 
they run down the steps, on to the glowing embers, walk across, 
climb up the other side, turn to the right, rush along the pit's 
brink back to their starting place, and repeat the performance 
twice. Their friends then douse them with water, the afflatus 
leaves then, and in a few seconds they become ordinary mortals 
once more. What connection these sensational performances have 
with Islam is not clear, and it is not at all uncommon to find 
Hindus among the devotees. 

In the • .Talaghat and in the southern and eastern Baramahal Hindus. 
the village-site {grdma-nattam) is usually open, but in the Balaghat Villages, 
and in the portions of the Baramahal that adjoin the Balagbat, 
villages were formerly protected by defensive walls and a fort, 
which in many cases are still in a fair state of preservation.* 
Some villages are surrounded with a hedge of the milk-hedge 
plant {Euphorbia tiruca/li), and on the hills a stout palisade of 
split bamboo fencing is not uncommon. The houses are usually 
built in fairly regular streets and aro not scattered. Sometimes 
the houses occupied by the several households of a joint family 
are grouped in a fenced compound. Brahmans, Muhammadans, 
and some of the larger Non-Brahman castes, usually live in 
separate streets or quarters ; Pariahs and Chucklers are relegated 
to hamlets {Paracheris, Sa'kTcili-natiams) of their own, situated as 
a rule at some distance from the main village, and they do not 
intermingle with one another. Most villages are provided with 
a platform (Jagili) of earth, rivetted with stone, about 3' in 

1 Prayers, accompauied sometime!* by oblations of food, 

2 Vide Vol. II, p. 112. 



CHAP. Ill height, shaded by a banyan or some other tree, where the villago 
UixDLs. elders foregather for gossip or for the settlement of disputes. An 
open maiddu or green, where the villagers congregate on festival 
occasions, is usually to be found in the centre of the village, with 
the principal village temples adjoining it. The commonest 
suffixes for rural place names are-patti^-doddi, nnd-haUi, which are 
respectively the Tamil, Telugu and Kanareso equivalents for 

Hoases. Most of the rural population lives in tiled or thatched houses. 

a terraced house being regarded as the mark of a wealthy man. 
Houses of more than one story are rare. Thatched houses 
predominate in the Talaghat and on the hills, and tiled houses 
elsewhere. The favourite thatching material is kambu straw ; 
paddy straw, cholam stalks, palmyra leaves, and cooo-uut kHIis are 
also used when available, and, in the vicinity of the hills, coarse 
jungle grasses. The poorest classes have to content themselves 
with an one-room hut, about 10' square, but most people of the 
ryot clasa have at least two rooms ; a sleeping-room opcuiug into 
the street, and a cook-room opening into the sleeping-room, and 
also a front verandah. In Ifostir villages the cattle are often 
accommodated in the sleeping apartment, and in the cook-room 
are kept three or four huge earthenware jars of grain. ^ An im- 
provement on this arrangement is to have the cow-house opposite 
to, and equal in length to, the dwelling house, with a narrow 
yard, fenced at either end, intervening. Town houses are more 
elaborate. A new house is usually " warmed " b}' giving a feast 
to friends and relatives before it is occupied, and some castes 
observe the sacrifice of a fowl or goat, or perform some other rite, 
or call in a Brahman purOhit to cleanse the building with the 
punt/dha-vdchanam rite, before they venture to live in it. 

The picturesque little " bee-hive " villages of the Malaiyalis, 
that nestle on the plateaus and slopes of the Shevaroys, differ from 
anything fouud in the plains. The huts are circular, the walls 
are made of split bamboo, daubed with clay, and the conical roof 
is thickly thatched with grass. The eaves extend about 2y 
from the inner wall, which is encircled by a second wall of the 
same material, the intervening space being partitioned into two or 
three compartments, to accommodate calves, kids, poultry, etc. At 
the level of the inner walling is a lolt, which answers the purpose 
of a store-room. I'he only entrance is ,a door, about 3^' high 
and 2h' wide, and there are no windows.^ The hut of the 

1 Vide infra, pp. 210-11. 

'^ Shortt's H»WB(Mi9e», Vol. II, ij. 4i, from which the above description is 


Pacliai-raalais and KoUi-malais is of similar material, but CHAP. ITT. 
rectangular in plan, and with a raised pial in front, beneath which Hindcp. 
is a small corapartnient closed with a door, whore fowls are penned.^ 

Except in the case of the Malaiyalis (q.v. pp. 156-57), Dress, 
the Hmdi^s of Salem District follow the practice of adjacent 
districts in matters of dress. Boys usually go naked till they are 
3 or 4 years of age, when they don a small komanam, 3" or 4" wide, 
supported by a waist-cord. The flap of the komanam, hangs 
outwards, and is not, as in more southern districts, tucked in. 
Sometimes boys wear the waist-cord without the l;6man<Cm, and 
sometimes tbey are protected against the cold by a little shirt or 
jacket of inadequate length. , A fter they lose their first milk-teeth, 
they are clad, if their parents can afford it, in a small white waist 
cloth, about 7^^' long and 3' wide. For the ordinary man the waist- 
cloth (veshti) and turban suffice, and in cool or wet weather, 
especially on the hills and in the Balaghat, he carries about with 
him a blanket {Jkambli) or a sheet of coarse thick cotton (duppatti). 
Those who can afford it wear also a body-cloth (anga-vastiram) 
loosely laid across the shoulders, and sometimes the turban is 
worn thus. In towns, sleeved jackets of European pattern are in 
vogue, and the well-to-do wear a lace bordered anga-vastiram^ 
neatly folded and passed across the left shoulder and under the 
right arm. The waist-cloth is ordinarily white, but modern 
depravity of taste affects a cloth dyed partially of an execrable 
magenta-crimson hue, which has the advantage of economising 
the dhoby's charges. In the Balaghat short drawers, of the type 
common in Mysore, are often worn in lieu of the veshti, and caps 
are often to be seen. Leather sandals are in general use. 

Little girls, up to the age of about 3, wear nothing but the 
little heart-shaped piece of silver suspended by a waist-cord {arai- 
mudi) " which calls attention to what it purports to conceal." 
They are then promoted to a miniature " female " cloth known 
as stUddai ; or, in the case of Christians and of well-to-do Hindus, 
to a jacket {sokkdy) and skirt (pdvddai). The usual colour ot 
the ordinary pudavaiis the familiar red that harmonises so perfectly 
with an Indian environment. Eich orange -yellows are sometimes 
seen in the Talaghat, and in the Balaghat green or indigo (popu- 
larly called " black ") are much in vogue. Some castes eschew the 
black pudavat altogether, and others prohibit it at marriages. 
White is confined to the Malaiyalis of the Kolli-malais, and the 
widows of Brahmans, Reddis, and a few other castes. The bodice 
(ravihkai) is in very general use, especially in towns and in the 
Balaghat, but it is not usually worn by girls under ten years of age. 

^ Trichinopoly Gazetteer, p. 126. 



cHAr, in. 



Tattooing is tolerated by almost every caste, the most notable 
exception being that of the Malaiyalis of the Kolli-malais, whose 
abhorrence of the practice is so strong that thoy will not permit a 
tattooed person to enter their nouses. Most of the liighcr castes,^ 
however, di8count<?nance t]\e tattooing of males, and nowhere is 
the practice carried to extremes. The art of tattooing is almost 
confined to itinerant women of a Koravar snb-caste popularly 
known as Pachai-kutti Koravars, whoso work is skilful and 
correct. Kuruba women sometimes take to the profession.^ 

The staple food among the higher castes is rice, and among 
the masses ragi and kambu. Brahmans and the higher castes 
favour pacharisi (i.e., rice husked without boiling), but the poorer 
people content themselves with pulnngarm (rice husked after 
boiling). Ragi is prepared as food in three ways, (1) hUzhu (or 
kanj'i), gruel, (2) /a/i, porridge, the ragi balls of jail diet, (3) 
roiti, bread or bisouit. It is usually eaten with dhall or avarai. 
Kambu is generally eaten in the form of kauji or kati. Horse- 
gram is an article of diet in the Earamahal. The majority of the 
population are flesh-eaters, the chief abstainers being the 
Brahmans, Komatis and Lingayats. The ilesh of sheep or goats 
is a general article of diet throughout the District, much more so 
than in the districts adjoining oa the south and oast. The oating 
of fish (both fresh and salted), "' fowls, and most birds that pick 
up their food with their bills, is generally permitted. Pork is 
eaten by a very large proportion of the community, including 
Araaa-l*allis, Vakkiligas, Malaiyalis, Kongn-Vollalars, IJdaiyilns, 
Shanars, Koravars, Oddas, and all Panchamas. The flesh of the 
Hanuman or black-faced monkey {Semnopithecus entcUus) ia 
highly valued as a medicine, and Dr. vShortt notes that the 
Malaiyalis cut the carcase into small pieces, 2" square, and sell 
these pieces at 2 annas each or even more, a whole carcase being 
valued at Rs. 7 to Rs. 10.* The flying-fox is relished as food by 
Pallis, Pallars, and several other castes. EicJd r*t3 are eaten by 
most of the lower castes, who drive them out of their holes with 
smoke. The practice of eating frogs gives a certain section of 

* Notably the Lingayats, Kapus, VfldaVa, Oollas and Vcttuvans. 

' Some interesting information on tattooing, with copioua illustrations, is 
gpiven in the Mysore Censius Re-port for 1901, Part I, pp. 556-02. • 

' Fresh fish is brought every Tuesday to Shcvapet Sl)an(^y, from the Kuve)i 
near Erode, from Omalur and from villages within a radius of 10 miles or so of 
Salem, Murrel and some of the smaller fish are sold alive. TJiere is a large 
import trade in dried and salted fish from the West Coast. Up to the end of 
April the fish imported are of small size, sardines {Matti and Yelluri), anchovy 
{Nettali), " mango fish " {Kdld) and horse mackerel (Kora). When the soath- 
west monsoon bursts, larger fish arc brought in, such as seer, cat-fish, tunny, etc. 

* Uill Range.-f, Vol. II, p. 45. 



Pariahs the distinctive appellation of Tavalai-tinni (see p. 202), 'CHAP, in, 

and x\rasa-Pallis are distinguished from their Panda-mattu Palli Hindus. 

cousins by eating erahs. A few castes (including certain Pallia) 

are said to eat the iguana (udnmbu). White ants are considered 

a delicacy by many of the agricultural and labouring castes. The 

universal condiments are salt, chillies, and tamarind, the last 

named being so valued that even the fallen blossoms that strew 

the roads are carefully swept up by the frugal housewife and 

stored for use. The flowers of avaram (Cassia auriculata) are used 

to brew tea. In times of famine the fruit of prickly-pear is freely 

eaten by the poorer classes, who are sometimes driven to digging 

out ant-hills to get the grain {pill-arm or "grass-rice" as it is 

called) that the ants have stored. 

It would be tedious to give a detailed account of the many Games, 
games played by children and adults. Kummi and koldttam} are 
of course familiar everywhere. Boys amuse themselves with 
endless varieties of bop-scotch {Jillii or pdndi), tip-cat (kttti), 
prisoner's-base (bari-kodu), marbles (goli)^ and kite-flying (pattam). 
?7c^«-(^/^am is a favourite four-a-side game in some parts. Aintham- 
kal is a forfeit game which consists in throwing up five stones 
into the air and catching them in various' ways. Palldn-kuzhiis 
a rather complicated game for two, played with a board with two 
rows of little pits (or the pits are made in the ground) into which 
a certain number of seeds are dropped in succession. Day am is 
the name for several games akin to backgammon, played on 
diagrams of various patterns. The best known of these is the 
game called in Hindustani pachls. Another set of games, played 
on various diagrams, and bearing various names, resemble the 
European game of Fox-and-Geese. One of the best known of 
these is called pathinainthdm-puli ("fifteenth tiger ") or /)m^«- 
A;a^/am, and is played with 3 " tigers" and 15 " sheep." Of 
card games, kelvi-koduve is a curious adaptation of Nap, and 
" out ^'-dttam of Bezique. Cock-fighting is occasionally met with 
in Salem City, in Rasipuram, and in parts of Omalur Taluk. In 
Attur Taluk it is very popular, especially in the villages round 
Belur and Taudavarayapuram, where regular tournaments are 
held, each competing village being represented by several cham- 
pions. Several formidable varieties of spurs are used, straight 
and curved, broad-bladed and narrow, some of them 4", or even 
6", in length. 

No scientific survey has yet been made of the religious cults Kkligion. 
of Salem District, and only a cursory notice is possible. The 

' ' Dance-songs, the former aocompauied by clapping the hands, and the 
latter by striking sticks together. 



CHAP. Ill 



I. Rrahraanic, 
(A) Siva 

Eeligion of South Indian Hindus, like their social organisation, 
is a blend of two cultures, the Aryan and the Dravidian, the 
former represented by immigrant Brahmanism, the latter by 
indigenous cults. The various cults may be roughly classified as 
follows : — 

I. Brahmanic Cults proper, comprising the cults associated 
with (A) Siva and (B) Vishnn. II. The Pandava Cult. IIL 
The Manraatha-Rati Cult. IV. The Vira-Saiva Cult. V. The 
Cults of the Grama-Devatas or village deities, comprising (A) the 
Ayyanar Cult, (B) the Sakti Cults, (C) Demon Cults. 

The worship of Siva and Parvati, and their sons, Vignesvara 
and Subrahmanya, is universal throughout the District. Most of 
the largo temples of the District are dedicated to Siva, and there 
are few villages without this shrine. The worship of Vignesvara 
is an essential element in most of the more important Hindu 
ceremonies, and there are several teiilplea of no small affluence 
dedicated to Subrahmanya. 

A Siva temple of the correct pattern should have seven 
prakarama or wmbulatories, one within tlie other, but this arrange- 
ment is not found in any temple in Salem District. The precincts 
of most of the large temples of the District are surrounded by a 
wall, varying in height and length with the importance and wealth 
of the temple. In the centre of this enclosure is the main block of 
buildings, -which consists of three parts, (I) the maha-maniapamy 
(2) the ardha-montapam, and (3) tho garhha-qriham, correspouding 
to the 5th, Cth and 7th prdkdraim of an ideal temple. The 
garb/ia-grt'hatn, or Holy of Holies, is a perfect cube, and contains 
the god in the form of a lingam} On the northern side of the 
garbha-griham is a small drain, terminating outsido the shrine in a 
spout {gomuhhnm or 86ma'8utram)y whicii carries off the water used 
in the god's ablutions {nb/u'tihekham). The worshippers drink this 
water, which is held very sacred.^ Tho garbha-griham is usually 
topped by a superstructure {vimdna), ornamented with more or 
less elaboration, and surmounted with a brass ornament (kalasam), 
which is sometimes covered with gold. The garhha'griham usually? 
opens on its eastern side 3 into the ardha-mantapam, a small ante- 
room, rather narrower than tho garbha-griham, and connecting it 

^ The miila-vigraha, as the representation of the deity fixed in the Holy of 
Holies is called, in contrast to the utsava-vigraha used for processional purposes. 

2 In temples where the god is installed according to the Saiva Ag.ima, 
Smftrta Brahmans decline to take tlrtam from the Archakar, and where the god is 
installed according to Smarta JIgama, Saira Brahmans decline to take tirtam from 
a Smarts. ArcHakar. 

3 Tn sorne temples, e.g., the Kail&sanatha Temples at 'liira-mangalam and 
Easipuram, the garbha-griham faces west. 



with the mnhd-moiapam or main maniapam, a pillared hall or CHAP. ill. 
portico where most of the best of the ornamental work of the Hindus. 
temple is concentrated. Beligion 

South-west of the main shrine should be a temple to Vignes- 
vara, and north-west of the same another to 8ubrahman}'a, both 
facing east. Parvati's temple is usually in the north-east of the 
temple compound, and faces south. The position of these three 
shrines varies, however, in different temples. In front of the main 
mantapam, in order from west to east are (1) a nandi (bull, Siva's 
vd/ianam), facing the garbha-grihatn and usually surmounted by a 
stone canopy, (2) a dhicaja-stambliam or flag-post, a tall mast, some- 
times of wood, sometimes of copper, with a flag-shaped device on 
top, decorated sometimes with bells, (3) a hali-pUatn, or altar of 
sacrifice, a pedestal topped by a stone in the form of a lotus, the 
eight petals of which are supposed to represent the guardians of the 
Eight Carbinal Points (Ashta-dik-Palakas). On this bali-pitam 
offerings of flowers and fruits are laid by worshippers. 

Siva is credited with 1,008 thoophanies in as many different 
localities, and he is known by at least as many names \ 

He is most commonly known as Sdmesvara in the Northern 
Taluks {e.g.i Adaman-kottai, Eaya-k5ta, Indur, Krishnagiri, also 
Sankaridrug and Nangavalli) and Kailasanatha in the Talaghat 
{e.g., Easipuram, Tirucheng5du and Tara-mangalam). The Ch5las 
and Pandyas ^ have claimed him for their Lord and the Soles vara 
{e.g., Aragalur, Malla-samudram, Kadagattur) and Pandisvara 
{e.g., Kumara-mangalam, and Tiruchengodu) Temples scattered 
over the District are relics of ^ their rule. Other popular designa- 
tions are Mallik-Arjunesvara {e.g., Dharmapuri, Vellar and 
Mallik-Arjuna-Durgam),'Chokkanathesvara (Amarakundi), Para- 
mesvara (Palakodu), and Samba-murti (Etlappur). Rarer forms 
associated with particular localities are Child an athes vara (Hosur, 
Bagalur), Sukavanesvara; (Salem), Siikaya-nir-malesvara (Attur), 
Jalakantesvara (Kaveri-patnam), Dosinalhesvara (Kambaya- 
nallur), Desesvara (Hogena-kal), Tirtigirisvara (Tirta-malai), 
Arunesvara (Kari-raangalam), Pennesvara (near Nedungal) and 
Sri-Kamanathesvara (Aragalur). The most important shrines 
are those at Salem, Rasipuram, Tara-mangalam, Tiruchengodu, 
Tirta-malai, Hosur, and Ettappur. 

Siva's consort Parvati has no temples of her own aprt from 
the shrine allotted her in the temples of Siva, except as Kamakahi, 

1 A list of 87 names is given in Ziegenbalg (p. 44 sq,). 

^ Somesyara was a favourite name among the Hoysalas, and possibly tlie 
frequent recurrence of this name in Salem District is a survival of Hoysala roJe. 






(B). Vishnu 

patroness of the Kammalars (p. 187), and as Kanyaka-Pararae- 
svari, the goddess of the Komatis (p. 175).^ 

To the masses Vignesvara, or Pillaijar as he is popularly 
called, as the God of Hindrance, is the most important deity of 
the Hindu Pantheon.^ " If the mild Hindu would go a journey, 
or plough the field that is to support him and his family for the 
coming year, ' Pillari devadu ' must be first invoked to help the 
work in hand ; incense must burn, and the milky coco-nut must 
be broken before the aldermanic god. " 

Subrahmanya, whose vdhanam is a peacock, is worshipped 
uudcr the name of Kandaswami (see below Vol. II, p. 275, s.v. 
Kali-patti) or Muttu-Kumara-swami. Except as adjuncts to the 
larger Siva temples, his shrines are not numerous. He is the 
patron deity of the Kaikolars, and Tuesdays are considered sacred 
to his worship. 

Vaishnavism is represented by the Vishnu Temples, to bo 
found in most villages of any importance, and the Hanumnn 
shrines, which are still more numerous. Vishnu, like 8ivu, enjoys 
a multitude of names, those most commonly used in Salem being 
Veukataramana (Attiir, Indiir, Chappadi, Kavori-patuam),Nara- 
simha, the Man-Lion (Nangavalli, Gummalapuram, Hale- 
Dharmapuri, Krishuagiri), Varadaraja (Tara-mangalam, PapiKlra- 
patti), Vonugopal (Beliir, Tali), Chendaraya (Adaraan-kottai, 
Virabhadra-Durgam) and Lakshmi-Narayana (Kari-mangalam, 
Raya-kota). The names Betraya (Denkani-kota) and Alagiri 
(Salem) are less common. Vishnu temples arc less well endowed 
than those of Siva ; the richest is that of Botraya-swami at 
Denkani-kota with an annual tasdik of over Es. 1,800. Vishnu 
under his popular name of Perumal appears to have a predilection 
for the summits of the rocky eminences so common in the District, 
and to him are usually dedicated the plain little masonry shrines 
with which such kopjes are often crowned.^ 

Vishnu's consort Lakshmi has no temples of her own, and is 
only worshipped conjointly with Vishnu. Among the masses, 
Hanuman, as Kama's /c/c-Zo^wm, seems at one time to have enjoyed 
a popularity second only to that of Vignesvara. In addition to 
his association with all Vishnu temples, huge bas-reliefs of the 
monkey god are to bo found throughout the District, especially 
in the Baramahal and Balaghat. Many of these bas-reliefs, gaudy 
with scarlet paint, are carved on the enormous boulders with 

^ And also, perhaps, as one of the village goddosses, if their linoage as 
Saktis be correctly traced to Pftrvati. 

^ He is also called Ganesh, Vinayaka and Oanapati. 
' See Ziegenbalg, p. 83. 


which the country side is littered, some of them protected by a CIIAP. in, 
mantapam, and some not. Such carvings aro usually to ho found Hindus. 
in the vicinity of the gateways of ruined forts, for Hanuman ueTgxon 
seems to have been generally revered as the guardian of the 

The worship of the five Pandavas and their joint wife Drau- II. Pandava 
padi is, curiously enough, confined to non-Brahmans, in spite of " ' 
the reverence in which the Mahdbhdrata is held by orthodox 
Brahmans. The most ardent votaries of this cult are the Pallis, 
from whom most of the pU/dris are drawn. The temples aro 
popularly called after Draupadi-amman, sometimes after Dharma- 
raja ; tliey are plain, uupretentious building's, of simple design. 

The annual festival, which is held in spring-time and lasts 
about 18 days, is usually signalised by recitations of the Mahd- 
bhdrata, and sometimes by dramatic representations of scenes 
from that Epic ; a colossal prostrate figure of Dury5dhana, the 
king who persecuted the five brethren, is formed in mud in the 
vicinity of the temple, and the sacrifice of Aravan, son of Arjuna 
by a Naga Princess, is commemorated by the slaughter of a goat> 
the entrails of which are afterwards entwined on a pole surmount- 
ed with a hideous red mask which represents the head of the 
heroic youth. 

With the Pandava Cult a fire-walking ceremony is usually 
associated. For instance at Edappadi the animal festival takes 
place about the middle of Panguni (February-March) and lasts 
for 18 days. The pUjdri of the temple, who is a Golla by caste, 
for the first 15 days takes food only once a day in the temple, » 
and for the last 3 days he subsists solely on a diet of fruit. In 
front of the temple a shallow pit is dug, about 25' long, 20' 
broad, and 2' deep. At one end of this pit is a ditch, about 3' 
broad, which is filled with water. On the last day of the festival 
a fire is kindled in this pit at about 10 a.m. and continues 
till about 5 p.m., when the embers are beaten down with 
bamboo poles and spread evenly over the area. The fuel is 
mostly supplied by devotees who have taken a vow to do so. 
Meanwhile, those who have taken a vow to pass through the fire, 
smear themselves and their clothes with saffron, and worship the 
karagam, a brass vessel filled with water and decked with a pyra- 
mid of flowers, which is consetjrated for the occasion. When the 
embers of the fire have been levelled, the crowd of fire-walkers 
approaches the fire-pit {agni-gundam) and led by the pujdri with 
the karagam, the devotees call on their gods and rush round the 
pit in tho direction of the sun, then across it, and into the ditch 

* Vide the gigunfcic bas-relief at Maharaja-gadai, Vol. 1.1, p. 179 below. 


116 SALEM. 

CHAP, III. of water. Some of the more enthusiastic cross the firo twice or 
Hindus. thrice. At Edappadi women as well as men are said to go 

Beligion through the ordeal, and oven infants in arras are carried across. 
The crowd of fire-walkers numbers about 200. It is said that if 
the pujari is a married man, a few embers are taken from the pit 
before the walking begins and tiedin the new ?affron-dyed cloth 
that his wife dons for the occasion, and she then walks round a 
small '* milk-post " planted near the fire-pit '. 

III. Man- The legend ^ of Mnnmatha, he god of love, and his incineration 
by a glance from the third eye of Siva is commemoratod among 
most of the inferior castes in the Kdman-Pandikai (" Festival of 
Kdman "= Desire, a synonym for Manmatha) which takes place 
about the time of the full moon of the solar month Mas!, coincid- 
ing with that of the lunar month Pbrilgima. The festival is 
essentially a feast of spring-time, and it synchronises with the 
Holi Festival of Northern India.' The comracmorativo rite is the 
burning of Kaman on the night of the full niDon, Kaman boing re- 
presented by a stalk of the castor-oil plant with some wisps of ndnal 
grasd attached to it, which is set up at the meeting points of the 
principal thoroughfares in towns and villages, 4 or 5 days before 
full-moon day. In some places a human effigy of straw and paper 
is also burnt. Kaman has no temple or piljdri, nor are offerings made 
to him, but in Salem two lads are dressed up to represent Manmatha 
and his wife llati, and are taken in procession thorugh the town, 
with a cortege of masqueraders and gymnasts, very much in the 
style of the Muharram celebrations, but on nothing like such an ela- 
borate scale. The festival is marked by a certain amount of rough 
and risque fun as elsewhere in India, and the youngsters amuse 
themselves by dousing each other with green or crimson dye. 
Sometimes the lower castes dramatise the Manmatha cycle of 
stories in a series of ndtakds, which take place on the nights preced- 
ing the festival. 

IV. Vira- Tije religion of the Vira-Saivas or Liugay ats isa reformed aspect 
of Siva worship. As a sect the Vira-Saivas sprang into political 
prominence in the middle of the twelfth century, shortly after the 
collapse of the Kalyaui Ohalukyas and during the reign of the 

1 Cf. a desoriptioQ of a similar eeremony in Bangalore, published in the 
Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society, Vol. II, p. 29. 

* For the legend see Ziegenbalg, p. 92. 

^ The direct connection between the Iloli and Knman Festivals is obscure. 
The formoi- is observed in Salem District by Maratha Brahmans and Marwaris. 
Both are vernal festivals. For the story of the female demon Ilolika, see the 
late Pandit S. M. Natesa Sastri's Hindu Feastsi Fasts and Ceremonies, p. 42 and 
Mr. J. C. Oman's Brahmana, Thei.its and Muslims of India, p. 250. The former 
writer says that the five days before the full moon are known as IVdi Pundikai 
pnd the ne?t three days as the Kdman Fano^ikai, 


TttE PEOPliE. lit 

Kalachfirya Bijjrtla. The rise of the Lingayats uiiclor the leader- CTIAP. III. 
ship of Basava was essentially ' anti-Brahmanic and anti-Jain. Hindus. 
The salient feature of their worship is their reverence for the j^^.^^jj^^ 
lingain, wliieh is always worn on their persons. Their temples arc 
not infreqnent in tlie Balaghat and in Dharmapuri Taluk. They 
are usually plain rectangular structures, surmounted with a large 
masonry bull, - with miniature bulls at the corners. Each temple 
contains a Ungam, a Nandi, or a stone figure of Siva in his form 
of Virabhadra.^ These Lingayat temples are popularly called 
"Bull Temples" or temples of " Basavesvara-swami." Basava 
means " bull " and Basava, the Moses of Vira-Snivism, is revered 
as an incarnation of the bull Nandi, the vdhanoim (vehicle) of Siva. 
V^ira-Saivas are strict vegetarians, and their ritual prohibits blood- 

The Cult of Ayyauar, the son of Siva and M5hini (the v. Grama- 
female form of Vishnu) is fairly common in Atttir Taluk, and is Dsvatas. 
also to be met with in the other Talaghat Taluks, but it is com- 
paratively rare elsewhere. It is in all respects identical with the 
Ayyanar Cult of the adjoining Tamil Districts.^ 

It is unnecessary here to discuss the philosophic explanation of (B) The 
the Saktis as manifestations of the " female energy" of the supreme '^^'^*''^' 
deity as represented by Parvati, the consort of Siva in the form of 
Kali. To the simple villager the Saktis are goddesses who rule 
over evil spirits, and who must be propitiated by bloody sacrifices 
of fowls, sheep, goats, pigs and even buffaloes, to induce them to 
protect the fields and villages from malignant demons, from 
pestilence, famine, war, flood and fire. The cult of these deities 
has very little in common with the cult of Siva as observed bv 
Brahmaus and Lingayats. The worship of such goddesses was 
almost universal at the dawn of civilisation in Europe and Africa, 
as well as in Asia, and the syncretism which explains all these 
local cults in South India as various aspects of Siva's consort, pre- 
sents an interesting analogy with the absoi'ption of the goddesses 
of Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Eome in the cult of tho 
Great Mother of the Gods in the early centuries of the Christian 
era. With its love of sacred numbers, orthodox Hinduism 
enumerates nine Saktis, vi/., (1) Mari-amman, (2) Ellamma, 
(3) Ankal-amma, (4) Pidari, (5) Chamundi, (6) Bhadra-Kali 

^ Vide Castes and Tribes, \o\. IV, s. v. Lingayat, p. 237 sq. 

- The Lingayat fashion of adorning their temples with large masonry bulls 
seems to have influenced the architecture of certain Hindu temples, e.g., the 
Sira and Vignesvara temples at Kela-mangalam, the Siva temple at Solappadi, 

^ Kurubas as well as Lingayats of ten worship in these Virabhudra temples, 

* Vide South Arcot D.O., p. 99, and Ziegeubalg, pp. 133 -5. 




Hi n d cs. 



(7) Durga, (8) Ttiranai, (9) Pudkalai. lu additiou to these there 
arc several other female deities of similar type, foremost amoug 
them being Pattal-amman, Selli-amman, Nachi-amman, Gang- 
amma, Padavattamman, Ponnamma, Pongal-amma and Muttiyal- 
amma. Ptiranai and Pudkalai, the wives of Ayj'anar have no 
separate cult of their own, and the worship of Durga is rare.^ 
The ritual observed in the woi*ship of these deities diifers greatly 
in different localities, and space permits only a passing reference 
to a few salient characteristics.^ 

By far the most important deity in the District is Mari-amman, 
and there is scarcely a village without her shrine. She is pai' 
excellence the Grrama-Dovata of the Talaghat Tamils, and her cult 
exists all over the Baranaahal and Billaghat.^ She is worshipped 
by practically all castes except Bralunans, Komatisand Lingayats. 
She is especially associated with smali-pox and kindred contagious 
diseases, but there are few cures she cannot effect, and few boons 
she cannot confer. 

The votaries of Mari-amman torture themselves in honour of 
their deity. For iustauce .at the lloddiyur festival near Salem, 
men and boys were observed with a number of skewers, sharpened 
to a very fine point, thrust through their skin, some 4" below each 
armpit. The skewers arc about 18" long, and most of those in 
use were the ribs of defunct umbrellas. Some devotees were 
content with one skewer under each arm ; one man had fourteen. 
When more than one were insei-tcd, the punctures wore very close 
together. The points protruded about | ". When all were thrust 
in, the devotee clapped his elbow to his side, and held the blunt 
ends of the skewers lightly between his fingers, which he clasped. 
The operation must be painful, as several of the adults winced, 
and little lads of 4 or 5 cried bitterly when they were trussed. 
Other of the male devotees stitched a thread through parts of the 
body, the favourite place being just above the hip. In one place 
were two men yoked by stout cords to a model wooden car, about 
5' high, drawn on clumsy solid wheels. The ends of the cords 
were fastened to iron hooks, two of which were driven into the 
muscles of each man's back, 4" below each scapula and 4" apart 
A friend stood between the traces, and gave a helping tug to the 
car when it had to be moved. One man, who was evidently 
regarded as the most devout of all, balanced on his head a chatty 
of blazing fire. 


^ For a description of Durga — see Ziegenbalg, p. 145. 

^ For a detailed description of the seven principal Saktia- 


3 For further descriptive details— see Ziegenbalg, p. 138. 

-see Ziegenbalg, 



OHAl'. 111. 



Female devotees were treated differently. Their tongues were 
pierced with silver needles about 5" long, the blunt ends of which 
were neatly fashioned as spcar-blades or tridents. The puncture 
was made on the right side of the tongue, about 1^" from the tip. 
The women seemed to find the operation painfid, and clasped a 
comer of their cloth to their face to conceal any expression of 

EUamman, whoso name is explained as " Mother of All," or Ellamman 
'• Lad}' of the Boundary," is especially popular among the 
Telugus. A curious legend attaches her to the Vishnu cycle, 
Eenuka, the royal wife of the sage Jamadagui, fell from perfec- 
tion and fled for refuge from her husband's wrath to a settlement of 
Madigas (see p. 204). At his father's behest her son Parasurama 
struck oil the heads of all the Madiga women, as well as that of 
his mother. The father, delighted with his son^s dutiful obedience, 
offered to grant him anything he wished. The pious son asked 
that his mother should be restored to life. The boon was granted, 
but the son was unable to identify his mother's body, and by 
mistake stuck her head on the body of one of the Madiga girla. 
EUamman is conventionally represented by a wooden image in a 
sitting posture with fiery face, four arms and hands, and a crown 
of serpents. But " her principal image to which offerings are 
made is of stone, representing but her head, in the earth, to 
indicate that only her head was made alive and put on the body 
of another woman, " ^ Local tradition is, however, rather vague 
as to the exact signitioance of this head, and it is often spoken of 
as the head of the Salckilt Pen, or Madiga girl, who was an attend- 
ant of Eenuka, and is identified with the famous Matangi, the 
goddess of the Madigas, whose body is Renuka's though her head 
is that of a Madiga girl. 

The chief temple of Bhadra-Kali is at Mecheri (Vol. II, Bhadra-kiili 
p. 260) ; her shrine at Tara-mangalam is also worthy of note 
(p. 266). She is more popular in the Talaghat than in the Barama- 
hal Her worship is frequently associated with buffalo sacrifice. » 

Ankal-amman, the patron goddess of the Sembadavaus (see p. 
173), is worshipped by most Non-Brahman castes in the Talaghat. 
Her pujdri is usually a Sembadavan, but Pallis, Kaikdlars and 
members of other castes sometimes officiate. She is honoured 
with sacrifices of sheep, goats, fowls, pigs and arrack. Her 
annual festival begins on Mahd-Siva-Edtri and during its 
course is celebrated the grim Maydna-puja, or ceremony of the 


^ ZiegenbaJg, p. 136. There are many alternative versions of the story — vide 
Castes avd Tribes, IV, p. 297, sq. s.v. Madiga, osp. p. 306 j cf. E.S.M. XVIT, 
p. 24. 







burning giouud (see p. 173). In Atttir lior festivallasts ton days 
the car procession taking place on the ninth day. 

On the seventh day the pujdri is garlanded with the entrails of 
a freshly-danghtered sheep, and accompanies the goddess in 
procession round the town ; devotees place money on this gniosomc 
necklace and pour milk over it. Similar practices are connected 
with her worship elsewhere. 

Chamundi, the patron goddess of the Devanga weavers and 
destroyer of the buffalo-headed demon Mahisha, enjoys an annual 
festival beginning in Vijaya-dasami. Her shrines, and those of 
Pidari, are less frequently met with than those of the other Saktis. 

Of the other " mother " goddesses the most popular are Sclli- 
amman,Pattill-ammanand Gangamma. Selli-(or SolIandi)-amman, 
who appears indistinguishable froni Kali, is a favourite deity 
among the ryots, especially among Pallis. She is propitiated 
with the blood of fowls, goats and buffaloes but not of pigs. 
Pattal-amman is an important deit}^ at Kela-mangalam, where 
the chief tank is named after her (see Vol. II, p. 1 10). At Palakodu 
and Kari-mangalam the pfijari who serves her is a Janappan . Her 
shrines are found mostly in the Jiaramahfil and Balaghafc, and she 
appears to be more favoured by the Telugus and Kanareso than 
by the Tamils. Iler worship sometimes includes a tiro-walking 
ceremony. Gangamma too is more at home in the northern 
taluks than in the Talaghat. 

A detailed account, however, of the "mother goddesses '' in 
the District would fill volumes. Sometimes they bear quaint local 
names, sometimes they are vaguely called "Great Mother" 
(Periya-thayi or Doddamma), sometimes their names arc merely 
descriptive of the spot whore she presides, such as Vella-parai- 
amman, " Lady of the White Kock." On the bund of Palaiyam 
Tank at Kodihalli, near Pennagaram, is a shrine to Oddammal, 
the spirit of an Odda girl who was sacrificed when the bund was 
built.' In southern tJttankarai and^ in Tiruchengodu the tank 
buods are under the protection of the Akasa-Kannigal or Heavenly 

^ It is a coriouB oircnmsiance that the band of this tank has no stone 

* E.g. the tanks of Venkata-samndram, Alapnram and Tenkraai-kottai. 
What connection these deities have with the Seven Kannimar of a Siva Templo 
or of a Muni cult (see below page 121) is not quite clear and the traditions 
connected with them are conflicting. Mr. S. G. Roberts writes that the Aasa- 
KaJinigal are female centaurs who guard tanks and make them break by stamping 
on the bund when quarrelling. This version of the Kannimar is, however, un- 
known iu Salem District. They are worshipped by the Vettuvans on the 
festival of the 18th Adi, 


TflE PEOPLE. 121 

Bikkana-lialli, not far from Denkani-k5ta, is noted for a curious CHAP. 111. 
custom eonnooted with the worship of two sister deities known as Hindds. 
Doddamnaa and Cliikkamma, to whom the Hale Kurubas of the 
Baramahal and of Mysore State are specially devoted. At the 
annual festival, women of all ages, who have bound themselves by 
a vow, foregather at night at a sacred tank, divest themselves of 
all clothing, bathe in the cold water, and, on ascending the steps, 
put on loose jackets made of pungam or margosa leaves. They 
then arrange themselves in order of precedence, the Mysore 
Kurubas taking the lead, and with lighted lamps of rice flour on 
their dishevelled locks, march in procession to the accompaniment 
oE music thrice round the temple. Their nearest relatives move 
with them, forming a sort of bodyguard to protect them from the 
vulgar gaze. The third circuit accomplished, they make obeisance 
to the deity, doff their leafy attire and resume their proper dress. 
The above procedure is believed to ensure offspring.^ 

Demon worship is a grade lower in tbe theological scale than (C) Demons 
the cults of the mother goddesses. The simple villager is never 
free from the fear of the malignant beings, Pegs and Bhutams, 
with which the darkness is peopled. On lonely village roads, or 
in his own back-yard, he is liable to be seized with " panic 
terror," - and sometimes actually dies of fright. These evil 
spirits must be propitiated, and not unnaturally their cult is 
ubiquitous. To guard his children, the Brahman offers pongal, and 
the Non-Brahman sacrifices a fowl or goat, to the spirit that 
haunts his back-yard.^ Trees in particular are favourite abodes 
of these uapleasant beings, and hence the worship of a demon is 
very commonly located under the tree he haunts. These demons 
are usually worshipped under the name of Muni, Muni-appan, 
Muni-swami, and local epithets such as Kottai (fort), Ellai (bound- 
ary), Kasi (Benares), etc., are prefixed to their names. A demon 
popular in Attur and Salem Taluks is Madurai-Viran,^ the hero 
of Madura, who is worshipped on Fridays with offerings of blood 

^ The above is the account of an eye-witness in 1006, The account given 
by Mr. LeFanu, Vol. II, page 165, differs in several points ; either it has been 
embellished by his informants or else the Kurubas have grown more modest. 

- The Greek cult of Pan offers many points of analogy to theMuni cults of 
South India, especially with regard to the "panic " which he inspires. 

* Mr. S. G. Roberts writes that in Conjeevaram Municipality there is a 
constant demand for private licenses for the slaughter of sheep to propitiate 
Purakadai Isvaran (Lord of the Back-yard). 

* For the tradition of Madurai Viran see South Arcot District Gazetteer, page 
191, where he is described as a servant of Ayyanar. The Kev. Thomas Foulkes 
identified him with Ayyanar himself. He is sometimes called by metathesis 
Maruda Viran, or sometimes simply Virakkaran. In Salem he is honoured with 
festivals in Tai, Masi and Pangani, which take place on any specially chosen lucky 
day, shortly before the full moon of those months. 







The Village 

and spirituous liquors, aud ganja. Other names in common use 
are Karuppau (or Karuppauuan) aud V^edi-appan. lu parts of 
Salem and Attur, cross-roads are believed to be haunted bj a 
demon known as Sauthi-appan, but his vogue is limited, and he 
is not held in high esteem. Of minor demons the name is legion, 
but all alike have the satne taste for blood and alcohol, aud, if 
appropriately honoured, will guard their votaries from pestilence 
aud famine, aud relieve them of demoniacal possession or the curse 
of barrenness. 

Hook-swinging is au ancient religious custom genoral through- 
out Southern ludia,^ aud there are still many men in Salem 
District who have undergone the ordeal, and bear on their backs 
the scars of their wounds. Hook-swinging is practically obsolete, 
so far as human beings are concerned, but throughout the District 
the upright posts of wood or stone {Siddhi-kal) are still to be seen 
in front of the temples of the village goddess, and the ceremony 
is still performed in effigy.^ 

The population of a typical village or small town is made up 
somewhat as follows : — 

(1) A large agricultural community, with a few fishermen, 
hunters and herdsmen. 

(2) An industrial community composed of oil-prcssorH, 
weavers, artizans, potters, toddy-drawere, etc, 

(3) A community of traders aud money-lenders. 

(4) Brahmans. 

(5) Moniak, such as washermen and barbers. 

(6) Out-caste coolies such as Pariahs and Chucklers. 

(7) A few Muhammadans and perhaps Christians. 

(8) A few alien immigrants, such as Marathas, who have 
preserved their nationality iu their new environment. 

The Agricultural and Industrial Classes vary inversely with 
each other, according as the character of the settlement is rural 
or urban. Brahmans, Muhammadans and Christians gravitate to 
towns, and Muhammadans are particularly numerous in places 
which were formerly of military importance. 

Each of the communities above specified is composite. The 
Brahmans are divided into a number of smaller communities by 
differences in religion or language. The agriculturists may include 
Tamil Pallis and Vellalars, Telugu Kapus and Kanarese 
Vakkiligas, and each of these again is subdivided into smaller 

1 Vide Ethnographic Notes, page 487. 

* For '• pseudO'hook-swiDging," see Ethnographic Notes, page 600. 



groups. The Weavers may include Tamil Kaikolars, Telugu CHAP. ill. 
Togatas and Kanarese Devangas, the Fishermen, Tamil Fikdus 
Sembadavans and Telueu Bestas, and so with all the other „ 
communities. organisa- 

It is an essential feature of the Hindu social organisation ,pj^g j^^' 
that intermarriage between these petty subdivisions of each Gonnuhii. 
community is prohibited. In otlier words, the unit of Hindu 
Society is the endogamous group, or sub-caste, as it may conveni- 
ently be called, the members of which may, except within the 
prohibited degrees of relationship, freely intermari'v ; and the 
limits of each sub-caste are rigidly ^ fixed b}' iis jus connubii. Not 
infrequently all the members of the sub-caste trace their origin 
to a common ancestor, who may be eponymous. The sub-caste is 
itself divided into a number of smaller groups, which are governed 
by the law of exogamy, and which may conveniently be called 
CLANS. ^ The members of a clan are theoretically descendants in 
the male line of a common ancestor, and are regarded as " daya- 
dis" ; thus a marriage between two members of one clan would 
bo looked on as within the prohibited degrees of relationship, and 
therefore as incestuous. Hence a Hindu must choose his bride 
from any clan within the sub-caste save his own, the bride 
becoming a member of the clan into which she marries. In some 
castes there is strong evidence that their clans are totemistic in 
origin, i.e., the members are all theoretically descended from some 
animal or plant, which gives its name to the clan, and which is 
regarded by the clan with peculiar reverence. It can hardly be 
said that totemism is a characteristic of South Indian caste, but 
it is quite possible that the apparent traces of totemism in the 
clan are survivals of an earlier social phase. It sometimes 
happens that two clans regard themselves as " cousin-brothers " 
and may not intermarry.^ 

1 The blending of two endogamous groups is technically kuown as fusion, 
and the splitting of an endogamous group into smaller endogamous units as 
Jission. Fusion, except between a few advanced sections of Brahmans, is 
unknown in Salem District, and the modern tendency is jealously to restrict 
the jus connubii, in other words it is a tendency towards fission. 

^ The Bralimanic Gotra is strictly an exogamous group, but it implies descent 
from a patron saint or Rishi. and the term is not commonly in vogue among non- 
Brahman castes. The Tamils use the term Vaguppu, " group," to describe the 
exogamous group, but the term is too vague for general application. The same 
objection applies to the word Inti-perlu (= house names) used for the exoga- 
mous group by the Telugus. The term Kula or Kulam (family) is in general use 
among Tamils, Tclugus and Kanarese, but the word is also often used with a 
larger and more general meaning, and its adoption in a restricted meaning 
would lead to confusion. The term Eilai (branch), used by a few Tamil castes, 
is too local for general use. 

2 They are spoken of as Ddyddi Vaguppus. 









]. Langiia^o. 

2, Occupa- 

A CASTE is usnally composed of several sub-castes, between 
which interdining is allowed, but not intermarriage. Eonghlj 
speaking, it may be said that the sub-caste is defined bj the 
jus conmibii, and the caste by the jus convivii. It is usually the 
case that the ancestors of the sub-castes are supposed to be brothers 
or half-brothers. Several oastes are sometimes lumped together 
under a common name, based usually on community of occupation, 
and such combinations may conveniently be termed "caste 
groups," though the term " caste" is often loosely applied to the 

The ramifications of the jxis connnbii are determined by a 
variety of factors, foremost among which are (1) linguistic 
differences, (2) differences in occupation, (3) territorial differences 
and (4) differences in religious or philosophic tenets. It is by no 
means. the case that these factors are of uniform importance in all 
classes of the community. In some castes it is primarily a differ- 
ence of dogma that ha«» led to social segregation, in others a dilTcr- 
enco of language, in others of vocation, in others of residence. 
All four fa(!tors may have contributed to the creation of a sub-caste ; 
all four are influenced by and react upon pride of birth or status, 
and the resultaot complex is crystaUizod by oaatom and fiction.^ 
The causes of caste are multitudinous, though their expression 
in the limitation of the jUs connubii is universally uniform. 

A difference of language is almost universally a bar to inter- 
marriage. For instance, Kanarese Devangas may not marry 
with Telugu Devangas, or Kanarese Knrubas with Telugu 
Kurubas, or Tamil Barbers, Dhobies or Potters with Telugu or 
Kanarese Barbers, Dhobies or Potters. Unfortunately this 
distinction has not been observed in tabulating the Census 
Statistics of Caste. Thus Kurubas are officially supposed to 
speak Kanarese and Devangas Telugu, and it is obvious that large 
numbers of Malas and Holeyas have been returned as Paraiyans, 
of Mangalas and Kelasis as Ambattans, of Tsakalas and Agasas 
as Vannans, of Kuramaras and Kurabaras as Kusavans, etc. 
Hence in the Census of 1901, though over 158,000 persons are 
shown as speaking Kanarese, the Kanarese speaking castes totalled 
just over 89,000, while in 1911 the proportion is about 134,000 
Kanarese speakers to 50,000 pei-sons of Kanarese castes, and in the 
latter Census many of the Kanarese castes have vanished 

Difference in occupation is the dominant formative principle in 
the Industrial Castes, which may be described as endogamous 
guilds based on hereditary apprenticeship. 

I For the inlluence of Fiction see Risley, Peoploflniiae, page 265. 


A difference in the place of origin or of residence is naturally CHAP. III. 
of importance among the Agricultural Castes, whose prosperity is IIindds. 
rooted in the soil. Hence arise the distinctions between tho SociAr, 
Vellalars of Tonda-mandalam, of Kongu, of tho Chola or Pandya organisa- 
country ; between the Malaijalis of the Kolli-raalais, the Pachai- 3 Location, 
malais and the Perija-malais. Of analogous origin is the Gangadi- 
kara (Gangavadi) division of the Vakkiligas and the Morasu 
division of the Kapus. 

Sectarian differences are of paramount importance among the 4. Sect, 
numerous sub-castes of Brahmans. A Saivite may not marry a 
Vaishnavite, a Madhva may not marry a Smarta. The great 
Lingayat caste is essentially sectarian in origin. Among other 
castes, however, sectarian distinctions are usually disregarded. 

The well-known division of South Indian Castes into the Eight Right and 
and Left Hand Factions (Valangai and Idangai) is recognised 
throughout the District, except in the Taluk of Attur. The origin 
of this distinction is unknown, and no satisfactory explanation of 
it has yet been advanced.-^ The factions could not have sprung 
out of purely racial antipathies, for Tamils, Telugus and Kanarese 
are alike divided by it. Probably it sprang, like the factions of 
the Guelfs and Ghibellines in Mediseval Italy, from disputes that 
were in nature partly religious, partly political, partly economic 
and partly social, but when or how the dispute arose is an unsolved 
mystery, buried in remote antiquity.^ The salient distinction 
between the two factions is that at festivals and marriages the 
Eight Hand Castes employ Pariah musicians with pipes and 
horns, while the Left Hand Castes employ only Chuckler musi- 
cians, with drums and tom-toms of various kinds. There are also 

Left Hand 

1 Dr. Oppert {Original Inhabitants of India, p. 61) traces the feud to the 
struggle between Jainism and Brahmanism. " The influence of the Jainas was 
perhaps strongest in towns, where the artisan classes form an important and 
powerful portion of the population, while the Brahmans appealed to the land- 
owning and agricultural classes, whom they won over by entreaties or by threats. 
The Brahmans have not joined and strictly speaking do not belong to either side, 
but their interests lie mainly with the right side. As in various localities the 
same castes have embraced different sides, it is difficult to assign to all a 
permanent position." Dr. Oppert quotes a civil suit, tried in Salem in 1843 
before a Brahman, in which it was held that the Kammalars " had no right to 
study the Veda or to undertake any Prayascitta or any other religious ceremony 
whose performance is a privilege of the Bi-ahmans. " 

^ The Right and Left Hand factions are mentioned in an inscription of the 
reign of Deva Raya II of Vijayanagar, dated A.D. 1446-47 (G.B. Mo. 23 of 1905 
see Report for 1905, p. 58), and the privileges'of the Left Hand faction are dealt 
with in inscriptions, dated in the 48th year of Kulottnnga I (1117 A.D., see G.E. 
No. 479 of 1908 and Report for 1909, p. 95), and in the 15th year of Konerinniai- 
kondan (G.E. No. 186 of 1910, see Report for 1911, p. 78, and G.E. No. 151 of 1905, 
see Report for 1905, p. 62, and South Indian Inscriptions, Vol. Ill, p. 40 sq.), the 
latter being on jaloeographical grounds assignod to the thirteenth century. 





eertaiu exclusive privileges to which each faction lays claim, " but 
as these alleged privileges are nowhere defined and recognisod, 
they result in confusion and uncertainty and are with difficulty 
capable of settlement." ^ Yet in the days of Abbe Dubois a 
trespass by one faction on the so-called rights of the other would 
lead to riot and bloodshed throughout the countryside, and the 
worthy Abbe records how he had seen the rioters " stand up 
against several discbarges of artillery withoiit exhibiting any sign 
of submission. '^ The danger of friction has under British Rule 
abated, but it has by no means disappeared. The Right Hand 
Faction claims precedence over the Left Hand in the distribution 
of pdn-supdri, sandal, etc., at marriages and other social and 
religious gatherings. At the annual festival to Mari-amman the 
Right Hand Faction worships first, and it is often necessary, in the 
interests of peace, that the worship of each faction should take 
place on a different day. 

Popularly the Right Hand Faction is spoken of as the 
Eighteen Pauaras, the Left Hand Faction as the Nine Pananis. 
The word Panam Ib said to be a corruption of tlio Sanscrit Varnam 
" Colour,'* i.o , " Caste." Bu tthe Castes returned as Right Hand 
number many more than eighteen, and those returned as Left 
Hand number many more than nine, and no two lists agree.'^ 
Brahmans and many non-Brahman Castes arc neutral in the 

The life and soul of the Left Hand Faction is the Artizan 
Caste of Kfimmrilars, who are actuated with tlio bitterest animosity 
against Brahmans. Another Caste which always figures in the 
Left Hand section is that of the l^ori Chottis, a community 
bitterly opposed to the Komatis, who are Right Hand. Similarly 
Pallans are at feud with Pariahs. 

Among the Castes returned in Salem District as Left Hand 
are the Kammalars, Beri Chottis, Nagarattu Chettis, Vedars, 
Gollas, " Two-]^ull " Oil-pressors, Razus, Kaikolars, Pallans and 
Irulans. It may bo noted that most of these castes either repudi- 
ate the authority of Brahmans altogether, or rarely employ them 
as purohiU, The chief of the Right Hand Castes are the Komatis, 
Vollalars, Reddis, Balijas, with Barbers, Dhobies and Potters. 
Other Right Hand Castes reported are Agamudaiyans, Bestas, 
Boyas, Darzis, Idaiyans, Janappans, Koravas, Kurnbas, Lam- 
badis, Malaiyalis, Patnulkarans, Shanans, Togatas, Vakkiligaa and 

1 Abbe Dobois, 1897, p. 25-6. 

2 See the lists quoted by Dr. Oppert in Original Inhabitants of India, p. 03, 
taken from a Chingleput judgment of 1809. 


In matters ot social administration each caste is an autono- CHAP. III. 
mous unit. In almost every village each sab-caste has its head- Hindus. 
man, who is variously known as l/r-Kavundan, Feriya'Tandkkdran^ Social 
Muppan, Kutti-maniyain, Kdriijastan, etc. Ho is usually assisted ohganisa- 
by a peon (Kolkdran), and sometimes by a sort of vice-headman Poiity, 
{Kdriyastan, Kdriyakdran). In some castes the Ur-Kavundim 
{^ives his decisions on his own responsibility, in others in consul- 
tation with his assistant, and in others again in consultation with 
a panchdyat of the leading householders of his village. ^ The 
Ur-Kavundmi' s jurisdiction is usually confined to petty matters of 
social discipline. Appeals against his decision and disputes of a 
grave character are referred to a higher tribunal, consisting 
usually of a council of Ur-Kavundans, presided over by an officer 
variously entitled Ndttdn^ Dorai^ Ejaman^ Reddi, Cheth\ etc. This 
tribunal exercises authority over a number of villages, the number 
varying with the strength and distribution of the communities 
concerned. The territorial jurisdiction of such a tribunal is 
variously known as a Nadu, Path or Hohati. In most castes the 
decisions of this second court are subject to a third, or oven a 
fourth, tribunal, the constitution of which varies with almost every 
caste. Among the castes which acknowledge Brahmanic authority 
the supreme decision usually vests in a Brahman Guru. In other 
castes several Nads are grouped together under the jurisdiction of 
an officer called Pattahkdran, Penya-Ndttdn, Penya Dorai, Pedda 
Ej'amdn, Rdja, Gadi Ndttdn, etc., who is usually assisted by a 
Mandiri (Prime Minister) and presides over a bench of subordi- 
nate Ndttdns. Sometimes the decisions of Pattakkars are referred 
to a board of Pattakhdrs, and sometimes to a Guru. The Left 
Hand Castes own the authority of the Desdyi Chetti, who is by 
caste a Balija.^ 

The offices above referred to are usually hereditary, or at 
least confined to one family ; sometimes, however, they are 
elective. The higher offices are usually regarded as sacred in 
character, and in some castes, e.g., among the Lingayats, the 
whole caste administration is of a strictly hierarchical nature. 
The efficiency of the control exercised by these courts varies 

1 In some castes the panchdyat is composed entirely of men belonging to the 
oaste or sub-caste concjemed ; in others, especially among the Left Hand Castes 
and the Telugus and Kanarese, the panchdyat is drawn partly from the caste 
concerned (kxdastar) and partly from other castes ipanastar). 

^ Spelt also Yejamdnan, or Tejawdn. 

3 The usual Kanarese system is the Katte-mane, the Nad, and the Desa, 
the latter being governed by a Dcsayi Gauda. Among the Kanarese it is 
common for the Shdnbhog and Futel (Karnam and Munsif) to sit on the ordi- 
nary caste panchdiiat. 






greatly with different communities ; with the scattered immigrant 
community of the Balijas, for instance, caste control is loosely 
knit and vaguely defined ; with the compactly grouped Malaiyalis, 
on the other hand, the jurisdiction of the several courts is sharply 
defined, and their control fairly rigorous. British Eulo, by 
ignoring caste politics; has tended to disintegrate caste solidarity, 
and the Civil Courts of Judicature have done much to undermine 
the authority of caste tribunals, to the financial detriment of the 
communities concerned. 

The position of the Guru is quite different from that of a 
Purohtt. The Guru, who in some castes is not a Brahman, is the 
supremo authority in matters of caste discipline ; he can excom- 
municate, and without him re-admission to caste is impossible. 
The Purohtt on the other hand would be more correctly described 
as the family priest and astrologer, wiio determines what dales 
are propitious or inauspicious for family undertakings, and whose 
services are requisitioned at all births, marriages and funerals, at 
the consecration of tanks, wells, houses and temples, and whenever 
ceremonial pollution has to be removed (see s.v. punydha-vachanam, 
p. 130). The higher castes employ Brahmans as Purohtts, and 
many castes of inferior status seek to enhance their social dignity 
by discarding their ancestral Purohits in favour of Brahmans. 

For the ordinary purposes of caste discipline fines and 
sometimes corporal chastisement suffice. In some castes the 
offender is subjected to some loathsome and degrading ceremony 
(e.g., p. 199), and he usually has to provide a banquet for all his 
fellow-caste-men of his own or adjoining villages. Serious 
breaches of caste law or defiance of caste authority are met by 
excommunication, which prohibits the offender and the members 
of his family from taking meals with any of his fellow-casto-raen, 
or from receiving fire or water at their hands, or even speaking to 
them or entering their houses, deprives him of the services of the 
barber and washerman, and forbids all members of the caste from 
entering his house, even on occasions of marriage or death. 
Before the ban can be removed, the Guru must be cfiUcd in to 
perform punydha-vdc/ionam (p. 130), and perhaps brand the 
offender on the tongue with a needle of gold ; and among the 
higher castes the unhappy sinner must drink the pancha-yavya 
(p. 131). The Guru must be heavily feed for his services, and 
the caste-men fed. 

The ordeal is still resorted to as a means of deciding caste 
disputes. The usual form of ordeal requires the litigant parties, 
after performing their ablutions, to proceed in public to the local 
temple, where, after pujd has been performed, they prostrate 

THE PEOPLE. ' 129 

before the idol aud are garlanded by the pujari ; each party then CllAP. HI. 
dips his rig-ht hand in boiling ghee, and the suitor whose hand is H^J^dos 
uninjured wins his suit. Sometimes a piece of red-hot iron takes Sociaf. 
the place of the boiling ghee. Another test is for an accused OaoANisA- 
person to throw fresh ^w;u6ra flowers into boiling oil or ghee; if 
they fade, he is guilty ; if they do not, lie is innocent. 

A more usual way, however, of pressing a suit is by taking oath. Oaths and 
It is against the principles of a Brahman to tal^e an oath, but " ^^^ 
there are many ways open to Non-Brahman Hindus for emphasis- 
ing good faith. The usual course among the higher castes is for 
both parties, after bathing, to resort to a temple, where the oath- 
taker extinguishes burning camphor, or a ghee-fed lamp lit by the 
other party, in the presence of a deity, 

A faA'^ourite oath in the Baramahal, as well as in the Talaghat, 
is to swear by the " sixtieth step " [Aruvathdm-padi) at Tiruchen- 
goilu^, and it is not necessary to go to Tiruchengodu to swear this 
oath. A man may swear by his wife or child {penjdthi-pillai- 
uthavai^dppaU), placing his hand on their heads ; or by his family 
or village deity, especially by Mari-amman or Selli-amman ; or he 
will touch the ground and point to the sky, and swear by earth 
and heaven {bhmni-sdtchi-dgdsa'Sdtchi-ydga-soUugiy^en). If it is not 
convenient to go to the temple, the oath-taker may stand within 
a circle drawn on the ground and so repeat his oath, or he may 
throw a cloth on the ground and step over it, or cross over seven 
parallel straight lines drawn on the ground within the space of a 
foot or two. 

Betel and salt are alike sacred ; betel represents Lakshmi, the 
goddess of wealth, and salt is a necessity of life ; and hence a 
man may swear by touching 3 pieces of salt placed on a betel-leaf, 
or with a piece of betel or salt on his head. An oath may be 
taken by touching the foot of a Brahman, or a man may swear by 
the Ramajana. If a document is in dispute, the plaintiff may 
challenge the defendant to draw his pen across the paper, and a 
creditor njay challenge his debtor to tear up his bond. Custom 
prohibits the taking of an oath by a minor under fifteen years of 
age, by a woman (except against a woman), by a man who is 
blind or deaf, by a man of bad character, by a drunkard or by 
an idiot,^ In Pennagaram a man will give a piece of cow-dung to 
the purchaser of his cattle, and the latter dare not then recede 
from his bargain. In Denkani-kota, when selling cattle, the 
owner of a beast will hand a piece of straw and a little cow-dung 

* Vide infra Vol. IT, p. 28G, * Baramahal Records, III, p. 56. 









to the purchaser when he hands over the cattle. It is common in 
the presence of a Panchdydt to break a straw in two and throw 
the pieces over one's head as a token of veracity, Among the 
lower castes a straw is broken at dissolution of marriage. A low 
caste illiterate man, when called on to sign a document, will break 
a straw and place it on the ground, in token that he acknowledges 
the mark affixed in lieu of signature. 

The social customs of South India are a blond of two cultures, 
the Arjan and Dra vidian. The terms Kshatriva, Vaisya and 
Sudra have no ethnographic significance in South India ; the 
term Brahman has, for it represents Aryanism. 

For the sake of scientific convenience, Hindus in Salem District 
may be classed as Brahman and non-Brahman^ ; and the non- 
Brahman castes may be graded inter se by the degree to which they 
have assimilated their customs to Brahmauic practice. The cardi- 
nal features of the Aryan culture are (1) infant marriage, (2) 
taboo on the re-marriage of widows, (3) taboo on animal food, 
(4) the worship of Siva or Vishnu, (5) prohibition of animal 
sacrifice, and (6) the performance of sraddhas, i.e., the annual 
ceremony in honour of dead ancestors. 

Pollution is incurred by breaches of the jus connubii ovjus convim 
or by excommunication (see above p. 128) ; by the touch of a low 
caste man or even by his presence,'^ by menstruation, childbirth or 
death. Pollution usually extends to the near relatives and to all 
who come in contact with the person polluted. 

The most usual purificatory ceremony is punydha-vdchnnam,^ a 
ceremony observed by almost all castes. As a preliminary, the 
house is prepared by rubbing the floor with cow-dung and water 
and whitewashing the walls, and sometimes a pandal is erected in 
front of the doorway. All the members of the family should 
bathe, anoint their head with oil, and don clean clothes. A mea- 
sure of rice on a plantain leaf is placed before the persons who are 
to be purified, and on this is placed a brass vessel of water, the 
month of which is covered with mango leaves. The purohi't or 
family priest then recites mantras (spells) over the vessel, and 

1 Afl the claim of certain castes to be classed as Kshatriyas or Vaisyas is not 
generally recognised, the nee of the more generul term Non-Bialiman is neces- 
sary to avoid confusion. 

2 See Malabar District Gazetteer, p. 102 sq., for the diitioction between " con- 
tact" and "distance " or " atmospheric *' pollution, and Census Report, Madras, 
1901, p. 137 sq. for lists of castes who pollute by touch and by proximity. The 
graded " scale of distances " observed in Malabar is, however, unknown in 

3 Cftlled also Stala-suddhi, 





then apriokles the water so oonaecrated (Hrfam) over all the mem- 
bers of the family who are present and over the house. Several 
subsidiary ceremonies are performed, but they are not all essential. 
The most potent and efficacious of all purificatory rites, however, 
is the drinking of the pancha^gavya, or the five products of the cow, 
viz., milk, curds, ghee, oovv-dang and cow -urine ; a ceremony in 
vogue only among the higher castes, and reserved for special 

On attainment of maturity a girl must be segregated for a 
prescribed period in a separate room of the house, or in a tempo- 
rary shed erected (usually by her maternal uncle) outside the 
village. Custom sometimes requires that a new hut should be 
constructed every three days or so, the old hut being burned. 
Every precaution is taken to guard the girl from the Evil-Bye or 
molestation by evil spirits. She must undergo numerous ceremo- 
nial ablutions, and custom rigidly lays down how often and when 
she should change her clothes. Sometimes she is given special diet. 
In some castes, after a few days' isolation outside the village, the 
girl is admitted into the house, and she and her relatives remain 
under " minor " pollution till the end of the pollution period. 
The pollution period varies greatly even within the same caste.^ 
Brahmans observe pollution for ten days, Malaiyalis sometimes for 
a full month, Lingayats none at all. Pollution terminates with 
final ablutionary ceremonies, formal presentation of new cloths and 
other gifts, the inevitable puny aha- vdchanam and a family feast. 
At subsequent menstruations segregation for three, four or five 
days suffices, and pollution ends with a bath. After childbirth 
similar precautions and ceremonies are observed, but the mother 
is permitted to remain in the house. 

Between birth and maturity a Brahman has to undergo five Childhood, 
important ceremonies, (1) namaharanam or naming ceremony, 
(2) chevulU'kuttedi or ear-boring ceremony, (3) anna-prdsanam or 
weaning ceremcmy, (4) chaulam or tonsure ceremony and (5) 
upanayanam or investiture with i\iQ pUuul or sacred thread. Most 
of the castes which claitu to be llvija or "twice born '^ observe 
these ceremonies, but many of the other Non-Brahman castes 
ignore them. For ear-boring no particular month is specified, and 
any convenient day is chosen by the parents provided it is 
auspicious. The weaning ceremony among Brahmans takes 
place when the boy is six months old, the tonsure^ at the 

^ Little 01" no oonsistency as to the daratiou of pollution can be trace! 
between the accoonts given in Castes and Tribes, E.S.M., etc., and information 
derived locally. 

2 Dubois, loc. cit,, p. 160. 








end of the third year, and the upanayanam ^ between the fifth 
and ninth year, and usually between the months of March and 

KSmatis and Nagarattus follow Brahman practice, but other 
castes that adopt the pUnul are usually invested with it on the 
eve of raiirriage. The ndmakaranam is generally performed at the 
time of purification after childbirth, sometimes it is reserved till 
the fifth, seventh or ninth month and sometimes it is deferred till 
even the third year. The ceremonies observed differ greatly in 
different castes, and it is a general practice to seek the advice and 
blessings of a family or village deity. The names usually 
selected are those of ancestors, of local deities, or of deities who are 
believed to be the special guardians of the family, e.g., Ardhanari 
is a popular name round Tiruchengodu, Betrayan round Denkani- 
k5ta, and Muni-appan or Muniswami near Veppana-palli. The 
eldest son is usually named after his parental grandfather, but, 
as his mother may never utter the name of her husband, her 
father-in-law or her mother-in-law, be they alive or dead, her child 
must necessarily have a nickname for domestic use. Personal 
names are common, such as Mukkaii (anglice^^ Beak "), Karuppau 
(Black-fellow), Min-vayan (Fish-mouth), etc. Jf the first and 
second children die in infancy, the third child is called Kuppu- 
swami, or Kuppan, or if a girl, Kuppammal, and is rolled thrice 
on a muck heap, its nostril is bored and a ring inserted, and the 
infant is nominally sold away to a third person for a sum of not 
more than half an anna. 

The practice of branding infants as a prophylactic against 
fits, swellings or jaundice is largely resorted to, sometimes 
immediately after birth. The parts branded are the forehead, 
the joints of the limbs, and the abdomen, and the branding is 
done with a red-hot needle, or a piece of thread dipped in boiling 
oil. A circle branded on the knee joint is a specific against 

The betrothal ceremonies are usually simple. The proposal 
is made by the parents (or guardians) of the bridegroom elect, 
who visit the girl's house, taking with them money, pdn-supdri, 
and sometimes a new cloth, rice, coco-nuts, plantains, jaggery, 
flowers, dust of sandal-wood, saffron, turmeric and other auspi- 
cious articles. If any evil omen is observed on their way, they of 
coarse turn back. When they arrive at the girl's house they are 
received by the girl's parents, take their scats and make known 
the object of their visit. Both parties then wait in silence for an 

^ Dubois, loo. cit., p. 162. 

TfiE PEOPLE. 133 

omoii, iwiially'the chirpiug of a lizard.^ If the omen is favourable, CHAP. III. 
the parents of the girl formally accept the offer. The girl is anoint- Hindis. 
ed and bathed bj her mother. She dons new clothes and returns cubtoms. 
to the company. The boy's mother then ties some of the gifts 
above referred to in the girl's cloth, and places the money, etc., 
before her. The fathers of the contracting parties then exchange 
pdn-snparl, aa act which clinches the bargain. A. general distri- 
bution oi pan- supdri among the assembled guests follows, and the 
ceremony closes with a feast. It is usually necessary that the 
local head of the caste and the principal housheolders, as well as 
the maternal uncles of both boy and girl and other relatives, 
should be present throughout the proceedings. 

The payment of a bride-price (l^amil pai'iyom, Telugu tera^ The Paru 
Kanarese oli) by the parents of the bridegroom to the parents of y*"** 
a bride is a custom almost universal among non-Brahman castes. 
Among Brahmans, on the other hand, the payment of a bride 
price is prohibited and this prohibition is a distinctive mark of 
Brahraanic culture. 

The most suitable match for a boy is considered to be his Menaiikam. 
maternal uncle's daughter.^ His paternal aunt's daughter is next 
in favour, and in some castes he has a preferential right to marry 
the daughter of his sister. So strong is this custom that in some 
castes, if the parents of the girl whose hand can thus be claimed 
marry her to a man other than the relative who has this right of 
first refusal, they will be excommunicated from caste. A girl 
who is thus married by virtue of her relationship to her husband 
is called an " urimai girl," while one chosen to enhance her hus- 
band's position or wealth is called a " ^eruma? (dignity) girl"*. 
The rule, which is common among both Tamils and Telugus, 
is known to the latter as menanham. It is curious that the 
Komati Vaisyas are subject to it. The Komati custom is thus 
described *: — 

" If a sister has a son and her brother has a daughter, it is an 
invariable rule for the brother to give his daughter in marriage to his 
sister's son, and let the girl be handsome or ugly, the sister's son 

1 In Barumahal Records, section III, three omens are especially referred to 
as favourable : (I) A crow flying from left to right, (2) a Brahmani kite from 
right to left, (3) a lizard chirping in the south. A crow or kite flying in the 
reverse direction or a lizard chirping in the north are evil omens. Many Telngn 
castes light a lamp as soon as the visitors arrive, and if the lamp goes out 
during the proceedings, the proposal is dropped. 

* The rule is observed among the Veddas of Ceylon: see Folk-Lore, 1911^ 
p. 523, 

^ Vide Trichinopoly District Qazetteer, p. 91. 

* Baramahal Rerords, section III, p. 88. 


i34 saleM. 

CHAP. Ill must marry her. If a brother have two sisters, and the sisters have 
Hindus. each a son, and he himsplf should have two daughters, he is obliged 
to give one of the daughters in marriage to each of his sister's sons. 
However, if the brother should have three or more daughtors and his 
sisters should have a plurality of sons, the brother is only obliged to 
give one of his daughters to each of the eldest of his sister's sons, ai d 
he may dispose of the rest of his daughters as he pleases, and so in 
like manner may the sisters dispose of their younger sons. If the 
brother's daughter be blind, lame or deformed, his sister's son must 
take her in marriage, bntonthe contrary, if the sister's son should 
happen to be blind, lame or in any other shape deformed, the brother 
is not obliged to give his daughter in marriage to him. But if the 
sister should have a daughter and a brother a son, the sister is not 
obliged to give her daughter to her nephew, but may give her to 
whom she pleases." 

Possibly the custom is a sort of compromise between matrilincal 
succession and Brahmanic law. There is reason to believe that 
" mother-right " prevailed in early Dravidian Society. Under a 
system of inheritance through females, a man had no interest 
whatever in finding out who his father might be. When, however, 
the idea of paternity began to take shape, as it certainly must 
have done under Aryan influences, fathers would begin to take a 
paternal interest in their sons. But under ^' fnothor-right" a man 
cannot transmit what he inherits to his own children, for his 
sister and his sister's children are his heirs. The only way he can 
secure the family property in the enjoyment of his own children 
is to marry them to the children of his sister. The same advant- 
ages would accrue to a marriage between himself and liis sister's 
daughter, the family property being saved from disruption. A 
marriage between his own daughter and his sister's son would be 
still better, for it would unite the properties of his wife and his 

The degree of rigour with which this rule of menarlkam is 
enforced varies in different castes. In some castes it is a mere 
matter of form to offer the fortunate uncle or cousin the first 
refusal.^ In other castes {e.g ^ Malaiyalis) it is said to be carried 
to such an extreme that sometimes an immature boy is married to 
a woman old enough to be his mother, the boy's father or father's 
brother performing the functions ot a husband to the bride, and 

^It is significant that in Tamil one woid {mdvnan) docs duty for (1) wife's 
father, (2) maternal Lncls, (3) paternal aunt's husband, and one word imachinan) 
for (1) brother-in-law, (2) maternal uncle's son, (3) paternal annt's son, while 
the feminine form of the hitter word {machini) stands for ^l) sister-in-law'i (2) 
■wife's younger sister, (3) younger brother's wife, (4) maternal uncle's daughter 
and (6) paternal aunt's daughter- 



raising up progeny for his son. The existence of this practice is CHA.P. Ill 
emphatically denied hy most of the castes of whom it is recorded, Hinuus- 
and it is probable that it will yield before long (ii it has not Customs. 
already done eo) to the pressure of a more enlightened public 
Gpinion, and vanish. 

Another practice not uncommon among the Telugus and Illatam. 
Kanarese^ is that of affiliating a aon-in-law, commonly known as 
illatam. Failing male issue, a father is at liberty to marry his 
daughter to a maa who agrees to become a member of the family, 
and who thereafter resides in the father-in-law's house and 
inherits the estate. 

The practice of dedicating the eldest daughter as a Basavi 
(dancing girl), about which so much has been written, is probably 
intended to serve a similar purpose, for a Basavt is entitled to 
inherit her father's property as a son, and to transmit it to her 

Marriage customs are of too great variety to be dealt with in Marriage 
the detail they deserve, and it is unsafe to attempt to describe customs, 
the wedding ceremonies of Hindus as a whole or those of any 
specific caste group, because each sub-caste has its own peculiarities, 
and even within the siib- caste there are deviations from standard, 
and practice varies in different localities. 

Weddings usually take place in Chittrai or Vaiyasi (April and 
May) when agricultural work is suspended, and in some communi- 
ties the marriage season extends to Ani or Avani (June, July, 
August). In most castes the chief ceremonies take place at the 
house of the bride's parents ; less commonly ^ the bridegroom's 
people are the hosts, and in a few communities the ceremonies are 
performed in the houses of both the contracting parties.^ 

In the case of infant marriage, consummation follows the girl's Consumma- 
attainment of puberty, as soon as the pollution period is over. ^°"' 
In the case of adult marriage, consummation is usually postponed 
for at least three months after the wedding, as it is considered 
unlucky for a child to be born within the first year of wedlock. 
Consummation is not usually accompanied by any public 
ceremony. _^ ^^.^ ^ 

The re-marriage of widows is altogether prohibited among the 
hio"her castes, and even among such castes as tolerate the practice 
it is regarded as a sort of legalised concubinage (Jcattuppddu). The 
marriage ceremony is of the simplest description, the widow 

^ E.g., Bedas, Kammas, Kapus, Vakkiligas, Gollas. 
^ E.g., among Malaiyalis, Udaiyans. ^ E.g., amorg the Panta iieddis, 





CJIAP. TTl. puts on a new cloth presented her by her lover, and the latter ties 
Hixnua. the M??^ in the presence of the headman. No married woman 
should be present, and the bridegroom has usually to pay a reduced 
bride-price to the family of the widow's deceased husband, and 
sometimes a fine to the caste Guru, and he also has to provide a 
feast for his fellow ca,stemen. Where divorce is allowed, divorcees 
are usually permitted to remarry, the wedding ceremony being 
similarly truncated. 

The Aryan custom is to burn the dead, the Dravidian to bury. 
Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaisya ritual requires cremation. Some 
of the higher castes of the so-called Sudras also cremate, and in 
mauy others cremation is adopted by the well-to-do, while the 
poorer families have to be content with the lews costly sepulture. 
There is a tendency for the Vaishnavite members of a caste to 
prefer cremation, and for the Saivites to bury. Infants are usually 
buried,^ and so also are those who die of small-po.x or cholera.^ 
Burial is also adopted in the case of men who have acquired a 
great reputation as Sanyasis, even among Brahmans, and with 
those who wear the linyam. 

The Brahmanic monthly ceremonies in honour of the deceased 
are observed with variations by the Komatis and Nagarattais, but 
rarely by other castes. Annual ceremonies {srddd/ias) in a very 
mutilated form are observed by a few of the higlior castes,* but 
for Hindus generally the Mahdlaya Amdvdsai or Hindu All Souls' 
Day (the new moon of Furattasi) suflRoes for the propitiation of 

The Brahmans number 23,371, of whom about one-half 
(11,905) arc Tamils and nearly one-third (6,900) Telngus. 
Kanarese Brahmans (u,883) number rather more than half the 
Telngus. The remaining G83 are mostly Maralhas. 

The number of Brahmans per mille is 13, a lower figure than 
can be found in any other district in the Presidency e.\copt the 
Nilgiris. But in a district like Salem, where over 96 per cent 
of the population is illiterate, Brahmans naturally acquire an. 

Survey of 

(A) Bkah- 


^ Such marriages are called Kudike (concabinage) among the Kanarese, also 
Vdike or fiirudike (" puUing on clothes ";. 

* Infants under six mouths of age among Brahmans, under three years among 
Vaisyas (Komatis and Nagarattiis), and children who have not shed their milk 
teeth among castes which are not classed as the twice-born. 

* Rut not among tho twice-born. 

* The essential item is usually the feeding and feeing of a few needy 
Brahmans, the performance of ablutions and the putting on of new clothes. 
Sometimes the ceromonies are more elaborate (ride Baramahal Records, Section 
III, p. 150). 


TflE ttlOPLE. 137 

influence altogether out of proportion to their number. In general CHAP. Ill, 
ability thoy have no rivals. In the remoter villages of the «i'RvtY ok 

northern taluks the Brahman Karnam is, not iinfrequently, the ' 

only literate person accessible to the villagers. He keeps the (A) Br.ui 
Village Mnnsif's accounts, writes his reports for him, communi- 
cates and explains the Sirkar's orders, settles petty disputes 
between the villagers, writes petitions for them and acts as a 
general fac-totum in all business that requires the use of brains. 

The Brahman^s position in Salem District is, as elsewhere, 
prirriarily political in origin. Epigraphic records point clearly to 
the privileged position enjoyed by Brahmans from the time of 
Pallavas to the British Eaj. Without the Brahman, no Hindu 
Eaj ever prospered. The Brahman followed in the wake of 
armies, and on him fell the work of settlement and administra* 
tion. Many of the village offices are still practically, though not 
theoretically, hereditary in Brahman families, and the origin of 
the office is proudly traced to the grant of some Eaja whose name 
is long since forgotten. Brahman officers are, from time imme- 
morial, the links that connect the village administration with the 
centre of political power, and any attempt to disturb this connec- 
tion, like that of Tipu who tried to administer the District by 
illiterate Muhammadan Tahsildars, was sure to meet with disaster. 
The ebb and flow of conquest are marked by Brahman settlements 
founded for the prosperity of the reigning dynasty.^ 

There are few sections of South Indian Brahmans unrepre- 
sented in Salem District, but space forbids any detailed account 
of them.^ The ritual of Saivite temples is for the most part in the 
hands of Grurukkals ^, (commonly called " bell ringers "), who form 
an important section of the community, though they are rather 
looked down upon by other Brahmans. The Golconda Viyaparis 
of Krishnagiri Taluk are an interesting community. They mi- 
grated from the Decoan to the Baramahal with Jagadeva Raya, 

1 E.g., the-Kanarese Madhvas in Ettappur, Pedda-Nayakkan-palaiyam and 
Attur (Vol. II, pp. 298, 303, and 297) and the Tamil Vaishnavas at Denkani-kSta, 
(Vcl. II, p. 130) ; see also the Sankaridrug grant, Vol. II, p. 281. 

An interesting and elaborate account will be found in Castes and Tribes, Vol. 
I, pp. 267 to 393, Tanjore District Gazetteer, p. 78 sq. Brahmanic customs are 
described in minute detail in Dubois " Hindu Manners, efc." 

^ See Castes and Tribes, Vol. 1, p. 347. 






(A) BRAH- 

(B) Nox- 

(1) Agpricnl- 
tural Castes. 

and made themselves useful to each succeeding sovereign powor, 
receiving as reward for their labour grants of land and adminis- 
trative appointments. Thej are said to be an off-shoot of the 
Telugu Niyogis, and closely connected with the Aruvelu and 
Nandavariki groups. Their name ^ (Yivapari= merchant) they 
account for by a legend that when migrating souihvvard to escape 
the Muhammadan cataclysm, they transported the royal treasure 
in the disguise of merchants. ^ They call themselves Ayyar, but 
they are all Yaishnavites, and wear the namnm. Another com- 
munity worthy of note is that of the Marka Brahmans settled in 
Tali. Most of the Markaa are Kanarese Madhvas, but some are 
Smartas. They are a wealthy and ambitious commuuity, but 
their Brahmanic status is not admitted by other Brahmans, and 
they are compelled to keep aloof. ^ 

In the absence of any satisfactory scientific classification of 
castes, a rough and ready provisional arrangement is adopted, 
based mainly on the primary formative principle of the several 
castes concerned. Castes are grouped as (1) Agricultural, (2) 
Pastoral, (3) Fishermen, (4) Hunters, (5) Traders, (6) Indus- 
trial, (7) Labourers, (8) Menials, (9) Military, (10) Sectarian, (11) 
Mendicants, (12) Miscellaneous Castes which cannot conveniently 
be brought under other heads, and (13) Panchamas. 

The backbone of the population is of course the great agricul- 
tural caste groups of Pallis, Vellalars and Kapus or llcddis. 
Dykes* remarks on these three great divisions are worth quoting.* 
" The Vellalar is frugal and saving to the extreme •'''; bis hard work- 
ing wife knows no finery, and the Vellalichi willingly wears for the 
whole year the one blue cloth which is all that the domestic economy 
of the house allows ber. If she gets wet, it must dry on her ; and if 
she would wash hor sole garment, half is unwrapped to be operated 
upon, which in its turn relieves the other half, that is then and there 
similarly hammered against some stone by ttie side of the village 
tank or on the banks of the neighbouring stream. Their food is the 
cheapest of the ' dry ' grains which they happen to cultivate that 
year ; and not even the village feasts can draw the money out of a 
Yellalar's clctches : it is all expended on his land, if the policy of 

* The Nandavariki Brabniana take their name from Nandavaram in Cuddapah 

* See Vol. II, p. 168, for further details. 

' In spite of papal bulls issued by the Sringfiii Matam on behalf of the 
Smartas and by the Parakal Matam at Mysore oii behalf of the Vaishnavas ; 
Cosies and Tribes, Vol. I, p. 3G8. 

* Dykes, pp. 131—3. 

« It is said that Vellalars eat their evening meal by the light of the fire by 
which it was cooked to save the cost of lamp-oil. 

l-tifE ^EOPte. 


the revenne administration of the country be liberal, and the acts of 
Government such as to give confidence to the ryots or husbandman; 
otherwise their lioaided grains are buried. The new moon or some 
high lioliday ma}' perhaps see the head of the house enjoy a platter 
of rice and a little meat, but such extravagance is rare. 

" The Pallis and Pallars are the very reverse ; they have no 
heed for the morrow, but spend their money as fast as ihey get it. 
Their women wear the gayest-coloured cloths to be found in the 
bazaar; ornaments are eagerly sought for; and their diet is the 
best rice they can afford, with meat so often as it is to be had or can 
be eaten by the Hindu without injury to his health. 

" The Reddis, both Kanarese and Gentii, are as provident as the 
rice growers are improvident. They spend their money on the land, 
like the Vellalars, but they are not parsimonious ; they are always 
well dressed if they can afford it ; the gold ornaments worn by the 
women or the men are of the finest kind of gold ; their houses are 
always neat and well built ; and (if fairly dealt with) they invari- 
ably give the idea of good substantial ryots. They chiefly live on 
ragi, and are a fine powerful race." 

The Vellalars number 268,649. Thev aro strongest in the 
Talagliat, especially in the Taluks of Tiruchengodu and Salem 
(about 96,000 and 65,000 respectively). In Attiir there are about 
29,000 and in tJttankarai about 31,000. 

The principal sub-castes returned for Salem District are (1) 
Kongu. (2) Velli-kai, (3) Pavalam-katti, (4) Tondai-mandalam, 
(5) Tuluva, (6) Nirpusi, (7) Nayanar, (8) Ptisaikkara, (9) Karai- 
feattu, (10) Soliya. Unfortunately the Census Beturns give no 
idea of the relative strength of these divisions, but local enquiries 
indicate that the Konga Vellalars, as might be expected, are by 
far the most numerous. 

The traditional boundaries of the ancient Kongu country are 
on the west the Aliyar River of Pollachi Taluk, on the north the 
Pala-malai, on the east the Kolli-malais, on the south the Palni 
Hills. The Konga Vellalars are divided into the following terri- 
torial groups : (1) Ten-talai (corrupted into Sentalai; located in 
Tiruchengddu Taluk and in part of Coimbatore). (2) Vada-talai 
(Salem, Attur, and Utfeankarai), (3) Palai (Coimbatore), (4) Padai- 
talai (Coimbatore), (5) Narambu-katti (residing round Pulam- 
patti), and (6) Pavalam-katti. To these must be added the 
Velli-kai Vellalars of the Baramahal and the Nattans (see p. 144), 
who are said to have sprung from the Ten-talai section. The 
Narambu-kattis ( '* entrail- tying " ) are said to be so named 
because they wear entrails round the neck.^ 


scrvet of 

(B) NoN- 

(2) Tamil 



1 Possibly this is an uncharitable variant on Arlinibu-katti, " those who tie 
flower buds " — vide Castes and Tribes, Vol. VII, p. 377. 




suevet of 


The chief Bettlements of the^Konga Vellalars are in Tiruohen- 
g5du and Qttankarai. Salem Taluk contains man}' settlements of 
them, and they are known in Dharmapuri and Atttir. The 
Pavalam-katti Vellalars are so-called on account of the circlets of 
coral beads worn by their women on the left arm. They are to be 
found fairly commonly in the Taluks of Tiruchengodu, Salem and 
Omaltlr. and in Dharmapuri, especially in the Pagalpatti Firka. 
The Velli-kai (" silver arm ") or Velli-kappu Vellalars are so 
called on account of the silver bangles which their women w^car on 
the upper arm. They are common in Dharmapuri, and in 
Hosur in the Sanat-kumara-nadi valley and on the adjoining 
hills ^. They are also found in Krishnagiri and at Kanavay Pudur 
in Omalur, but they are not found in Attiir, Salem or Tiruchen- 
g5du. They are organised for caste administration into three 
Gadi-t'drams or Districts, each under a Periya or Gadi-Nditdn, 
namely (l)Eaya-kota Gadi, under Sakkai Kavundan of Dodda- 
Timmana-halli (Krishnagiri Taluk), (2) Krishnagiri Gadi under 
Venkatapati Kavundan of Mora-madugu and (3) Virabhadra- 
Durgam Gadi under Muniswami Kavundan of Golla-halli. Each 
Gadi-vdram is divided into a number of Hohalis ^ or groups of 
villages, each Hobali being under a Chinna or HObali-Ndttdn. 
Each village has its tjr -Kavundan. Appeals in caste matters lie 
from the tJr-Kavundan to the Hobali- Ndttdn, and second appeals 
to the Gadi-JVdttdriy and if the parties are still dissatisfied, they can 
appeal to a full bench of the three Gadi-Ndttdns sitting together. 
True Tondai-mandalara Ve.llalars, who are strict vegetarians, 
are very rare in the Salem District. They occur sporadically in 
the l^alaghat, and also in Dharmapuri and tJttankarai'. Tuluva 
Vellalars occur in the Talnghat talnks, and are also found in 
Dharmapuri and tJttankarai^ Some authorities class them as a 
section of the Tondai-mandalam Vellalars, but this classification is 
not generally accepted in Salem District, as they are flesh-eaters, 
while the true Toudai-mandalam Vellalan is said to be a strict 
vegetarian. In Attur they are called Vettilai-karar or Kodi-kal 
Vellalars, and are said to be experts in the cultivation of the 

^ Their chief settlements are at PalakOda, Pennagaram and Kari-mangalani in 
Dharmapnii, and at Pancha-palli and Betta-mngalalani in llosar. 

2 E.g., the /ye6a/i« of Ratnagiri, Chenrtlja-Durgaui, Baratangi, Attijambatiu 
and Sngana-halli belong to the Vi&ya,-\i.ot&-Qadi-vdram, those of 'I ogura palli, 
Kundara-palli and Mahftraja-gadai to the KriBlinagiri-ff^rfi-rara'n, etc 

^ 'J'hey are met with in Gangavalli and Kondayampalli in Atfcur, at Karnppur 
and Enadi in Omalur, and also in Salem aud Sura-niangalam. 

* There are large settlements of them in Salem, in Attar Town and in 
Mangodu near Pennagaram. 



betel-vine.^ The so-called Manij'akkarars of the Baramahal are 
said to bo Tuluva Vellfilars, organieied under a Pattakkaran at 
Hartir who appoints Nattars for Kambaya-uallur, Anaudur 
Kaveri-pataam, Jagadevi, and Ponnagaram. 

Most of the Yellalars of Krishnagiri Taluk call themselves 
Najanar^ and they acknowledge the Dharma-Sivachar Guru of 
Norinjipet. Nayauars are also found in Salem and Oraalur/ In 
the latter taluk, as well as in Dharmapuri, they are said to be 
identical with Nirpusi and Ptisaikkara Vollalars, but irr Krishna- 
giri these three sections are reported to be distinct. The term 
Nirpusi is derived from the sacred ashes {nlru) which they 
apply to their foreheads, and all Nirptisis are Saivites. There are 
a few families of Nirpusis at Mallapuram and Kadagattur, both 
in Dharmapuri Taluk, and a settlement ^of Pusaikkara Yellalars at 
Vadakumai'ai in Attur, whose Guru lives at Vriddhaehalam in 
South Arcot.^ 

Karai-kattu Vellalars are to be found in several villages in the 
Taluks of Omalur (near the Kaveri) and Attur (near the 
Trichinopoly border ^). In Salem and Tiruchengodu they are 
rather rare. lu Dharmapuri there are a few settled near 

Soliya (or Ch5la) Yellalars are not common, but they are said 
to occur in all the Talaghat Taluks,^ and also rarely, in Dharmapuri 
and tJttankarai, as well as in the villages of Angondapalli and 
Mattigiri in Hosur Taluk. 

No systematic attempt has yet been made to differentiate the 
customs of the numerous sub-castes of Vellalars, except in the 
case of the Kongu group. Generally speaking their customs are 
of the ordinary Tamil type, with a strong tendency towards 
Brahmanic ritual. The customs of the Konga Yellalars are 


suevet of 


1 According to Mr. Francis, however {Census Report, 1901), the Kodikals 
are a section of Soliya Vellalars. 

^ Their chief settlement is in Kudimonahalli Taraf. 

3 E.g., Nallar, Kasipuram, yetti-appanur, Muttu-Nayakkan-patti and 

* Reports received of these three groups of Vellalars are full of maddening 
cov.tradictions. ' The Ptisaikkara Vellalars of Attur are said to be a section of 
Tondai-mandalam Vellalars. Mr. Francis (Census lleport of 1901) classes 
Nirpusis as Pandya Vellalars and Nayanars as Tondaimandalam Vellalars. 
Others class them with Karai-kattu Vellalars, and others again with Kongu 

5 Their chief settlements are Navalur, Dalavay-patti and Pedda-Nayakkan- 
palaiyam in Attur, and Tara-mangalam, Kukkuttai-patti, Pofctaneri, Enadi and 
Vellar in Omalur. 

® E.g., Singaliindapuram in Salem, Pottuneri in Omalur, and Eranapuram 
in Tiruchengodu. 




Survey of 


practically the same as those of the Nattans, who are dealt with in 
detail below (pp. 144-8).^ 

The Pallis number 482,631, forming by far the largest castti 
in the District. They dominate the Baramahal even more 
conspicuously than they do the Talaghat. There are about 
125,000 in Dharmapuri, 75,000 in Krishnagiri, 32,000 in Uttan- 
karai; in Salem there are some 75,000, in Tiriichcngodu 60,000, 
and in Attur 24,000. The name Palli is connected by savants 
with Pallan, Kalian, Paraiyan, etc., but tho Pallis themselves 
indignantly disown such associations, and claim to be Kshatriyas of 
the Fire Race (Agui-kula Kshatriyas), and connect the name 
Palli with the ancient Pallava dynasties ; this claim Hindu 
Society is by no means inclined to admit, though in some places 
the Pallis have taken to wearing the sacred thread of the twioe- 
born. The term Palli, however, is considered opprobrious, in spite 
of the royal pedigree which tho word connotes, and Pallis prefer 
to bo called Vanniyars, from the vanni^ tree {Prosopu spicigcra) 
which is held sacred by the caste, or Padaiyachis. 

Their most important sub-castes are (1) Arasa Vanniyars and 
(2) Panda-mutta Vanniyars. The former are the more numerous, 
but the latter consider themselves superior. Both sub-castes are 
common throughout the District, except in llostir and Krishnagiri 
Taluks. Other well-reoognised sub-castes are the (3) Olai 
Vanniyars and (4) Nagavadam Vanniyars, both of which are 
said to be off-shoots of the Arasa-Vanniyars. Other sections 
reported are the Kongu, Vengaya ^ (Onion), Nila-kanta, Sugambu, 
Gangapala, Samba, Pasupatha, Vanniyars all of Salem Taluk ; the 
Ktida-katti Vanniyars of Toppur side, and the Kal or Lingam-katti 
Vanniyars of Baira-Nayakkam-patti in tJttankarai Taluk. It is 
doubtful whether any of these sections are true sub-castes. 

1 For Konga Vellalars see also TrichinoTpolij District Oazetteer, pp. 102-5. 
Much miscellaneoas information is given in Castes and Tribe a, Vol. VII, p. 3G1 
sq. In Baramahal Records an. account is given of" Karakava" Vellalars and 
Tonda-mandalam Vellalurs, and under the head of " Vellalas " along list of 
agrioultnral castes is given, which includes sevorai sections of Kapus and 

* The word vanni is also said to denote king —see Castes and Tribes, Vol. VI, 
p. 9 sq. 

' Tho Kanarese- sneaking Tigalas of Mysore aro called Ulli Tigalas or " Onion 
Tigalas ", and correspond apparently to the Vengaya Pallia. They are said to bo 
called Onion Tigalas on account of the f jllowing iticident : " A troupe of 
Dorabars gave an acrobatic performance in a villag'O of which all except Tigalas 
were invited to witness tho show. The latter felt insulted, and, in order to 
out-do the Dombars in their own profession, they constructed a pole by lasliing 
together onion stalks, and made ropes by twisting together the filaments 
of the same frail material, and surpassed the Dombars' feats of skill," 
(E.S.M. IX, p. 2.) 



The Pan da-mutt a Vanniyars derive their name from their 
curious custom of piling up two columns of kalasams in their 
marriage paudals. The number of pots in each column must 
be odd, and there may be as many as 11,13 or 15, and they 
reach to the roof. The pots, which must be new, are coated 
with chunam, and empty. Each column is based on a curious 
foor-eornered earthenware stand, the corners being fashioned to 
represent an elephant, a horse, a sheep and a peacock respectively ; 
above this stand is placed a crude earthenware figure of a peacock, 
on the top of which the column rests } The roof of the pandal is 
adorned with earthenware coco-nuts, plantains and mangoes. 

The Arasa Vanniyars are more numerous than the Panda- 
muttii sub-caste, but they are somewhat less Brahmanised. They 
differ from the Panda-muttu Vanniyars in the following parti- 
culars, (1) they tolernte the re-marriage of widows, (2) they use 
a smaller tali than that of the Arasa sub-caste, (3) they use 
only one kalasam at weddings, (4) they use cotton thread instead 
of the gold Mrai for tying the tali., (5) they use bamboo baskets 
instead of copper trays for carrying the bride's pariyam and other 
presents, (6) they may not tie a knot in the necklaces of black 
beads {harumani) that they wear. In other respects the customs 
of the Arasa Vanniyars resemble closely those of their Pandu- 
muttu cousins.^ 

Olai Pallis are numerous in the Taluks of Hosur,^ Dharmapuri, 
Krishnagiri and tJttankarai, and are also found in Salem Taluk. 
They derive their name from the fact that their women wear in 
their ears rolls of palm leaf [oJai) instead of kammals. 

Nagavadam Pallis are common in Hosur,^ Krishnagiri and 
Dharmapuri. Their name refers to a curious shoe-shaped ear 
ornament, bearing a serpent's head in gold, which is worn by 
their womenfolk. The Nagavadam Pallis claim superiority to all 
other Pallis, and have substituted the distinctive title Vanni for 


uurvey ok 


^ See the illustration facing p. 19 of Castes and Tribes, Vol. VI. 
2 In one or two points accoants differ. On attainment of maturity it is said 
a girl is segregated for 12 or 15 days in a temporary hut of cholam or kanibu 
Straw decorated with margosa leaves. After childbirth punydha-vdchanam is 
performed on the 10th day, and sometimes the infant is named on the same day. 
The bride price is Rs. 11, in addition to food. The milk-post must have leaves 
of the arat^a tree {Ficus religiosa) tied to it. 

3 Chief settlement at Aliyalam, Hosur Taluk. 

* Chief settlement at Santapuram, Hosur Taluk. 

^ An immigrant section of Pallis (Tigalas) at Bangalore, who speak a hybrid 
patois of Tamil and Ka-iarese, are known as Dharniaraja Okkalu, and they are 
ardent votaries of the Dharniaraja cult. 




Survey of 


Wherever Pallis occur, their settlements are rather large, 
and each village has its headman, who is variously known as 
Ur- Kavundan, Naitdn, Nditanmai-Mran^ Pannvja-hdran or Petvju- 
tcmakhdran. The panchdyat usually consists of ten members. 

The Nattans are treated in the Census Eeports as a distinctive 
oaste, though, strictly speaking, they are a sub-caste of Konga 
Yellalars,^ sprung from the Ten-talai section of that caste group. 
According to the Census of 1911 they number nearly 12,000, of 
whom over 7,000 reside in Salem Taluk, and over 4,000 in Tiru- 
chcngodu. They arc said to have migrated in the first iustauoe 
from Tondai-mandalara and the Chola country, and to have fixed 
their head-quarters at Kangayam in Coimbatore District. East 
of the Kaveri they distributed themselves into throe Nads, 
(1) Kil-Karai Pundurai-Nad, now known as Morur, which is the 
chief of their Nads in Salem District, (2) Puvani Nad, the 
capital of which is Tara-mangalam, and (3) Rasipnram Nad. These 
three Nads have since split into seven, viz., (1) Morur, (2) Molasi 
(an ofE-shoot of Morur Nad^), (3) Parutti-palli, (4) Malla- 
samudram (an off-shoot of Parutti-palli), (5) Uasipuram, (G) Salem 
fan off-shoot of Rasipnram) and (7) Elur. An eighth Nad is 
said to have existed, with its centre at Kalyani, but it became 
extinct. The Nads are ezogamoiiSy i.e., a member of one Nad must 
not choose a bride from his own Nad, and even the two Nads of 
MorQr and Molasi are regarded as agnate divisions [ddyddi- 
vaguppus), and intermarriage between them is prohibited. Morur 
and Molasi belong to one and the same Kulam or Gotram, 
called Kanna-Kulam ; Rasipnram belongs to Vijaya-Kulam and 
Parutti-patti to Sella-Kulam. 

The Nattans are distinguished from the Konga Vellalars in 
the following customs : — 

(1) The Nattans are called Nattar Kavundar, while the 
Konga Vellalars are called Kudiyaua Kavundar. The Nattans of 
Morur Nad also have the titles Immudi and Kangayam. 

(2) The pariyam of the former is Rs. 4 and 32 vrdlams of 
rice, that of the latter Rs. 25 and 18 vallams of rice. 

(3) Tlie tali of the former is simple unspun yarn ; the idU 
of the latter is spun yarn of 7, 9 or 11 strands. 

1 See above, pp. 139 and 141-2. 

* Local tradition expliina the term Ela-karai Nad as signifying' the seven 
Nads here referred to. The identification appears doubtful, however, for Elu- 
karai Nad referred to in an inscription of 1540 A.D. (No. 21 of 190O) existed in 
the 16th century as a territorial division quite distinct from Kll-karai-Pundurai 
Nad (G.E. GtO of 1905, dated 159.^ A.D.), and Pfivani Nad (G.E. 19 of 1900, dated 
1568 A.D., G.E. 27 of 1900. dated 1514 A.D., and G.E. 22 of 1900). See 
below, p. 189. 




(4) Whoa the Nattiln bridegroom goes to the bride's house 
for the wedding, ho is heralded by a Pulavati who sings a panegyric 
on the caste (^Cisj-'ULh). No such practice is observed among the 
Konga Vcllalars. 

(5) Nattan girls are tattooed with dots on each cheek, the 
Konga Vellalars tattoo one dot on the right cheek only. 

(6) The Nattan bride rides to the bridegroom's house, but no 
such custom exists among the Konga Vellalars. 

(7) The former tie an amulet (@srf?<iFLb) to the necklace (^js 
;»/r«@), the latter tie it to the tali proper. 

(8) Nattan females salute both men and women with their 
hands put together and raised above their heads, the Konga Vel- 
lalars do not do so. 

Their caste administration is conducted by eleQiive panchayats ^ 
which can levy fines up to Es. 2, the proceeds being devoted to 
temple funds. The panchayat is not, however, a strong body, and 
its authority is said to be decaying. 

Each Nad has its Brahman Guru. The Guru of Mortir and 
Molasi Nads is by caste a Gurukkal, and he lives in Natta- 
Kadayur i, in Kangayam Nad of Coimbatore. The Gurus of 
Malla-samudram and Parutti-palli Nads are also Gurukkal 
Brahmans, the Guru of the former living at Ayyam-palaiyam, in 
Paramati Division, his title being Immudi Sitambala Nayinar, 
and the Guru of the latter Nad residing at Kallan-kulam in Salem 
Taluk. The Guru of Easipuram Nad is a Dikshitar and lives at 
Pasur in Erode Taluk. 

Nattans ordinarily employ Brahmans as purohits only for 
puni/aha-vdchanam. All other priestly duties are performed by 
barbers, whether it be at deaths, or marriages, or other ceremonies 
The richer classes, however, (Mittadars, etc.), have sought to raise 
themselves in the social scale by employing Brahmans only for all 
ceremonies except those connected with females, but it is said 
that the ceremonial services of barbers cannot even then be 
dispensed with. 

The marriage customs of the Nattans are curiously complex. 
The chief actors in the ceremonies are the arumaikkdran and his 
wife and the barber. The arumaikkdran and his wife {antmaikkdri) 
are priests of the caste, who are appointed under rather peculiar 
conditions To become an arumaikkdran, a man must be well on 
in years, of good character, and blessed with children, and his 
wife must be alive. He cannot be made an arumaikkdran except 
at the marriage of his first, third or last son. Husband and wife 


survkt of 


^ In Dhiriipuraiu Talak, ono mite from Palaiya-kattai. 




S UK VET or 


are " consecrated " together. The ceremony^ is conducted by the 
barter {/BireS^dr) assisted by other arumaikkdrans, and after it is 
over the couple go and dig- cooked rice out of the pot in which 
rice is boiled for their son's marriage ; they are then qualified to 
officiate in other marriages in the caste. 

The prominence of the barber in the marriage rite is accounted 
for in the following story. A Vettuva Eaja, out for his morning 
ride, saw a Konga Vellalan being shaved by the road-side. The 
Eaja, who wanted a shave, ordered the barber at once to attend 
on him, and the obedient barber complied, leaving the unfortnuate 
Vellalan half shaved. The Vellalan, feeling shy of appearing in 
public, shut himself up at home, and begged his son to complete 
the barber's unfinished task ; the son refused, however, saying 
that, if he complied, no parent, whether within or outside the 
caste, would ever accept him as son-in-law. A potter overheard 
this, and offered his daughter in marriage on condition that the 
son finished shaving his father. The son accepted the offer, and 
ever after the son was called " barber ", and a barber has had to 
conduct the marriage rite among Konga Vellalans and Natiaus. 
[t is said to be in consequence of this marriage between a Vellalan 
and a potter girl that the Potters sometimes call themselves 
Vcllala Chettis. 

When a boy becomes eligible for marriage, his maternal uncle 
goes to his parent's house with a few rupees, some ienai (millet) 
and a mould used for making palmyra jaggery. The ieyiai-ilonr 
is mixed with water, and made into a big ball, and into it is put 
the jaggery mould. The whole is boiled, and the ball is placed 
on the threshold of the house where the boy's parents live ; the 
parents, in company with their arumaikkaran and his wife, then 
break the ball in two with a pickaxe. If the jaggery mould is 
found to be uninjured, the marriage will bo auspicious. If it ba 
damaged, the marriage will be unlucky. 

The next test is to mix some rod dye in ghee ; this mixture 
the arumatkkdri daubs on the pit of the throat of the bridegroom's 
mother, and the stream of liquid is watched as it trickles down 
between her breasts ; if the marriage is to be auspicious the stuff 
must trickle down in a straight line to the navel ; if its conrse is 
deflected the omen is bad. Sometimes the mixture is applied at 
the back of the neck, in which case it must trickle straight down 
the valley which marks the backbone. 

If these omens are favourable the two parents proceed to the 
shandy, and buy salt and turmeric, and smear red kunkutnarn on 

* Vide TrioMnopoly Gazetteer, p 104. 



their foreheads. It is only after the coremonj above doscribod 
that the bridegroom's father is permitted to erect a pandal in 
front of his house. The boy's father then proceeds with some 
elders of his village in search of a bride. 

A bride is chosen usually in some village witbin a radius of 
10 or 15 miles of the bridegroom's house. The betrothal consists, 
as in other castes, of exchange of courtesies between the parents, 
followed by a feast in the house of the bride's father. Just 
before the wedding, the father and mother of the bridegroom will 
sometimes pass through a hoop made by splitting a twig of 
tamarind, the object of this being to avert the Evil Eye. 

The bridegroom leaves his village on the eve of bis wedding, 
riding usually on horseback and proceeded by a Pulavan, who 
sings songs as the procession proceeds. The party takes with it 
the dowry, which may be one of three tinds : the full sir, the Half 
sir and the quarter sir. The full sir consists of 64 vcdlams of 
rice, 25 moulds of palmyra jaggery, 5 bundles of betel leaves, 1 
Madras measure of areea-nufc, 1 measure of turmeric, 4 measures 
of ghee, a hurai or cloth for the bride, the tali and a gold necklace^. 
When the party reaches the Pillaiyar Kovil of the bride's 
village, a halt is called, and the bride's brother comes to meet the 
bridegroom, riding on a horse or ox. The bridegroom and his 
party are then conducted to a guest house {e£iQ^ eS®) set apart 
for the purpose, and take their seats on a coir cot, over which the 
Dhoby has spread some white cloths. The bridegroom's sister is 
then given a new red cloth which she has to wear ; she has to 
carry the hurai in a basket (pezhai) to the bride's house, and there 
a few rupees are tied in the comer of her cloth as her perquisite. 
Then follows a feast given to the bride's maternal uncles, after 
which they (the uncles) carry the bride, dressed in the kurai but 
bare to the waist, and closing her eyes with her two hands, to the 
nattu-hal ^, a stone set up in the village boundary. There the aru- 
maihkarl, under the supervision of the barber, ties a piece of yarn 
round the stone, the bride witnessing the process and sitting on 
the basket. This done, the bride is carried back again by her 

1 The full sir of the Konga Vellalars consists of Es. 45 in cash, 10 vallams of 
i-ice, 25 moulds of jaggery with coco-nuts, pdn.supdri, plantains, etc. ; the three- 
quarter sir 19 Rs. 9 in cash, 18 vallams of rice, large pots of jaggery, one pot of 
ghee, and one of oil, with plantains, etc. 

* The ndttu-Jcal is said to represent the 24 Nads into which the Konga Vella- 
lars are distributed ; theoretically no marriage should take place without the 
presence of the representatives of all the 2i Nads ; as this rule is impossible in 
practice, the ndttu-kal was introduced as a substitute for the absent representa- 
tives. In Trichinopoly the ndttu-lial is said to represent the Konga King, whose 
permission was essential to everv marriage. {Trichinopoly District Gazetteer 
pp. 104—5.) 


CHAP. 111. 

Survey ok 




Sdrvky of 


CHAP. III. uncles to her parents' house, and on her arrival there the aru- 
maiklidri ties the tali, in this case a mere piece of country 3' am ; the 
tali ornament being attached afterwards. In former days it is 
said the tali was tied by the barber.^ 

The bridegroom, who till now has been waiting in the guest- 
house, is next conducted to the bride's house and introduced to the 
bride. The couple clasp hands, an act which is considered the 
binding portion of the ceremony. The bridegroom next dips his 
little finger in some red dye, and smears it on the bride's shoulder, 
the bride returning the compliment. The couple next exchange 
betel, and then the barber with the ariimaikkdron and his wife, 
souse the pair from head to foot with water. Then ghee is 
brought in a golden bowl, and the bridegroom and bride's brother 
eat out of it together in the presence of the bride. In poorer 
houses a brass bowl is used in which a golden ring is put. The 
bridegroom next goes to the pandal, and the Pulavars there sing 
a song of blessing. The bridegroom then returns to the nditu-kal, 
and there the chuckler meets him with a new pair of sandals, 
which the bridegroom puts on, paying the chuckler a few annas. 
The bride also is presented with a new pair of sandals at the 
entrance of her house. This closes the first day's ceremonies, and 
the bridegroom and the party return to their village. 

On the second day the bridegroom's female relatives proceed 
to the bride's village and meet the women of the bride's party at 
the Pillaiyar Shrine. There the two parties salute eaoh other and 
thea adjourn to the bride's house and presents are exchanged. 

On the third day the bride pays a visit on horseback to the 
bridegroom's village , and meets him in his house. Here, too, the 
barber is master of the ceremonies. 

On the fifth day bride and bridegroom together are conducted 
back to the bride's house, and the wedding terminates. 

The Tamil agricultural castes are further roproseutod by (4) 
Agamudaiyans (11,414), (5) Udaiyans^ (25,028), (6) Vettuvans 
(11,130), and (7) Malaiyalis (28,696). 

The Agamudaiyans occur mostly in the Taluks of Attur, 
tJttaukarai and Krishnagiri. In the Baramahal they are orga- 
nised into five Nads, each under its Ndttdn. The head-quarters of 
the Ndttdns, in order of their precedence, are (1) Anandur, (2) 

Other Tamil 


1 In recent years it has been the practice to permit the bridegroom to visit 
the bride's house to see the tali tied, and in the most advanced families the 
bridegroom is even asked to tie the tali himself. 

* The difference between the to talfor Udaiyans and the sum of the totals 
for the three sub-castes represents those Udaiyans whose sub-caste is unspeci- 
fied. « 



Kaveri-patnam, (3) Jagadevi, (4) Maharaja-gadai, and (5) Pai- OHAP. III. 
palaiyam.^ In every village there is an Vr-Kavundan, who is ^°^^J^'^ ^*' 

entitled to two shares at marriages, and on other occasions. The 

Ur-Kavuvdans, however, are not entitled to summon panchclyais, a Agamudai- 

privilege which vests exclusively in the Ndtians. The Baramahal 

Agamudaiyans are said to own allegiance to a Guru who lives at 

Palni. The Uttankarai Agamudaiyans are also said to recognise 

a Gruru at Tiruvannamalai, known as Konga-Namassivayya-swami. 

In the Southern Districts they hoar some affinity to the Maravans 

and Kalians.^ Their customs closely follow those of the 

Vellalars, and there is reason to suppose that in Salem District a 

large number of the caste have returned themselves as Vellalars.^ 

They are said to belong to the Siruntali section. 

The Udaiyans are divided into three well marked endogamous Udaiyans. 
sub-castes, (a) Malaimans 10,027, (6) Nattaraans 12,421 and (c) 
Sudarmans 1,499. They trace their descent from three foster 
daughters of the poetess Avvaiyar, who became the wives of a 
king of Tiru-koyilur in South Arcot, where their G-uru still resides. 
Over two-thirds of the Malaimans are to be found in Salem and 
Omalur Taluks, especially in the Easipuram Division, most of the 
remaining third residing in Attur ^ Two-thirds of the 
Nattamana, and more than half the Sudarmans occur in Attur 
Taluk. Outside these three taluks, the Udaiyans are rare. 
Their original settlements were in the western portion of South 
Arcot, and thence they have spread into Trichinopoly and Salem. 
Many of the Catholic converts round Easipuram are Malaimans by 
caste, and it is said that '* interdining ", and even intermarriage, 
between the converted and unconverted families are tolerated .^ 
Weddings are celebrated in the bridegroom's house. 

The Vettuvans are to be found mostly in Tiruchengddu Taluk ; Vettuvans. 
in Salem Taluk they number about 1,000, The Vettuvans of the 
Kongu country trace their descent from the followers of an ancient 
Eaja of Kalahasti, by name Muttani Eaja.^ In the 2300th year of 

^ Pai-palaiyam is about 4 miles south of Kuppam, in North Arcot District. 

* Cartes a/nd Tribes, Vol. I, p. 5. 
3 Census Report, 1901, p. 140. 

* Malaimans are numerous in Pudupalaiyam near Rasipuram, and in 
Palli-patti and Pachudaiyau-palaiyam, south of Naniagiripet. 

* For a more detailed description of the Udaiyans, see Trichinopoly 
Oaeetteer, p. 108, and South Arcot Gazetteer, p. 109, and Castes and Tribes, Vol. 

VII, p. 206. 

^ For this account I am indebted to Mr. 0. Sltapati Rao, Sub-Magistrate 
oi. Namakkal, whose information is based on a booklet in the possession ot Uma 
Mahesvara Pandittar, chief Guru of the Talaghat Vettuvans 




SuevSt of 


the Kali-yuga, or about 800 B.C.^ when South India was ruled by 
the Chera, Ohohi and Pandya kings, the king of the Choras, growing 
old, was seized with a desire to eschew the world, and witli his 
consort to go to Heaven without dying. After searching long and 
fruitlessly for a teacher who would guide him in the right way, 
he at length heard of a Saint of great sanctity, residing at 
Tiruvarur in Tanjore District. Him he consulted ; the holy man 
suggested that the king, if he wanted to make a really great 
sacrifice, should hand over the kingdom to him. This the king 
consented to do; the Saint bade him enter a pushpaka-viindnamy 
(aeroplane decorated with heaven-born flowers), which had been 
brought to earth for his convenience, and the King and Queen 
proceeded to Heaven, leaving the kingdom in the holy man's 
charge. The latter soon shifted his regal responsibilities by hand- 
ing the kingdom over to Brahman administrators. These 
Brahmans ruled for some four centuries, towards the end of which 
period the kingdom suffered severely from the depredations of 
certain raiders called Ottlars and Salliars, who represented, it is 
said, the Kallars and Maravars of to-day. The Brahmans in their 
trouble applied for advice to the holy man who had given them 
the kingdom, and who must have lived to a great age. The Saint 
informed them that in the 2249th year of the Kali-yuga, when the 
Chera, Chola and Pandya kings were in like quandary, they had 
sought and obtained help from the then Raja of Kalahasti .(in 
Chittoor District), and suggested that the Brahman rulers should 
do likewise. Envoys were accordingly sent, and, after some 
difficulty, the Raja of Kalahasti, Muttani Eajan by name, after 
consultation with his Guru TJmapathi Dosikar, was prevailed on 
to assist. On the 10th day after the new moon in the month of 
Tai in the year Praraatha, 2700 years after the beginning of the 
Kali-yuga, the Eaja of Kalahasti set out for the south. On the 
Kaveri bank he settled his Guru at Nanjai-Edaiyar.^ The Eaja 
and his fighting men then crossed the Kaveri and moved on Kartir, 
where he worshipped at the ancient shrine of Pasupatlsvara-swarai. 
From Karur the Eaja conducted a successful campaign against 
the raiders, and, after crushing them, he repaired again to Nanjai- 
Edaiyar. Raja and Guru then visited the Siddha Kovil at the 

* The locality is described in the original as follows : — 

jfiB^Qps ;B'6sr(rTj>dj sB&srisSu^ih (srprB ^Q^err QuQ^ih Ljsy^ (Q(W)S'mB 

the gist of the text being that the site chosen was the " Doab "formed by the 
Kaveri and the Tirnmani-rauttar. 



foot of the Kniija-malai, to enjoy the society of the liishis and 
Yogis then living there. After their return to Nanjai-Edaiyar, 
the king was requested by the Brahman rulers to take over the 
kingdom as a reward for his services. The king consented, making 
Karur liis.heiad-quarters, and posting a chief at Kapila-malai (15 
miles south-west of Namakkal) and another at Siva-malai (near 
the boundary between Erode and Dharapuram Taluks). 

This Muttani Raja of Kalahasti seems to be the same as 
the Muttu Eaja referred to in the traditions of the Ambalakka- 
raiis, the Muttiriyans (Mutrachas), the Uralis and the Valaiyans.^ 
According to Vettuva legend, Muttani Eaja was a son of one 
Vijayan, born to him by a jimglo girl, with whom ho foil in love 
when hunting, and whose father he slew.^ Vijayan's father was 
Kannappa Nayanar, a hero whose name is associated with the 
traditions of the Vedans, Bedas, Ambalakkarans, and Valaiyans^ 
and who is identified with one of the sixty-three Saivite Saints. 
Kannappa Nayanar ^ was the eldest of ten brothers, sons of a 
Vedar girl who contracted a gdndharva marriage with a descend- 
ant of Yayathi, one of the heroes of the Mahdbhdrata.^ No 
historical evidence has been adduced to corroborate the migration 
legends of these castes, but the community of tradition probably 
points to a community of origin, and the legend of a Vettuva 
Raja still clings to Sankaridrug.^ 


sorvky of 


1 Vide Castes and Tribes, Vol. I, page 27 (Ambalakkarars, and Muttarasan- 
Ttoradu), Vol. V, p. 127 (Mutrachas), Vol. VII, pp. 242 and 213 (Uralis), and 
perhaps Vol. VII, p. 279 Mnfctal Ilavattan, the special caste god of the 

2 Hence the name " Vettuvan," one who outs. 

3 Vide Castes and Tribes, Vol. VII, p. 332 (Vedaus), Vol. I, p. 26 (Ambalak- 
karau), Trichinopoly District Gazetteer, p. 114 (Valaijans), and E. S. M, No. Til 
Bedas, p. 9. 

* The second of the ten brothers earned the title Kavalan, by guarding 
the environment of the Rishi Uthangi while he performed a ydgam. The 
third brother rode round the earth on a horse of the Devas and won the 
title Bhuvalan. The fourth 8<m fell in love with two girls whom he met on the 
banks of the Tungabhadra, and wedded them on condition that he adopted the 
family title of their father, Mavalar. These three brothers became the proge- 
nitors of three tribes the Kavalans, the Bhuvalans (or Puvalans) and the 
Mavalans. The Bhuvalans are said still to exist near Perur in Coimbatore 
Talnk, the other two tribes have not been traced. 

* See Vol. II, p. 281. Mr. V. Venkayya suggests that the " Vidnkadan alias 
Vatturayan " mentioned in a fragmentary inscription of the Narasimha- 
Perumal temple at Namakkal (No. 11 of 190G) may be connected with the 
Vettuva Rajas. Another tradition states that the Konga kings invited Vettu- 
vans from the Chola and Pandya couutries to assist them against the Keralas, 
and a third tradition relates how the Vettuvans assisted the Chola king Aditya- 
varma to conquer the Konga country in the latter part of the ninth century 
(Castes and Tribes, Vol, IJI, p. 394). 




Survey of 

No clearly defined sub-castes appear to exist among the 
Vettuvans. The following exogamous clans are reported : (1) 

Anthi, (2) Miilai, (3) Pattali, (4) Karadi, (5) Vanni, (0) Kattii, 

Vettavans. (7) Billai, (8) Varagu, (9) Santhappadai, (10) Paudi. Caste 
disputes are decided by panchdyats presided over by an hereditary 
officer called ICoitukkdran, and appeals lie to a PattakJcdran, of 
whom there are three ; one at Irukkur near Kapila-malai 
(Namakkal Taluk) ; another, entitled Kaltiliasti Kavundar, at 
Pavitram (Karur Tahik) ; and a third at Siva-malai (Dhilrapuram 
Taluk). The full title of a Pattakkdran runs Immudi-p/ittam- 
kwndra'alldla-rdma-pdthira-Idumha-llaiyn'Ndi/akkar^ the word 
Idumba being his personal name. Pattakkars only aro known as 
Nayakkar, a title bestowed upon them, it is said, by Tiruraala 
Nayaka of Madura, the ordinary caste title being Kavundar. 
Vettuvans employ as purohits a sect of Tamil speaking Smarta 
Brahmans known as Sivadvijas, who are rather looked down upon 
by other Brahmans. These purohits officiate at the purifactory 
ceremonies after ehildbirtli, and on tlio 3rd and 16th days after 
death, and among the more advanced classes during the perfor- 
manco of srdddhas. Their Guru, as already stated, resides at 
Nanjai-Edaiyar and bears the title Umapathi-Desikar or Uma- 
Mahesvara-Grurukkal ; he claims descent from the Gruru who 
migrated with the Vettuvans from Kalahasti. At Nanjai- 
Edaiyar is a matam, and a shrine whore Siva and his consort are 
still worshipped as Kalahasti Isvarar and Gnanambikai. 

The Malaiyalis aro the principal inhabitants of the Talaghat 
Hills, their chief settlements being on the Shevaroys, Kalrayans, 
Chitteris, Kolli-malais and Pachai-malais In Attur Taluk they 
number 12.800, in Salem Taluk 7,300 odd, in tJttankarai just 
under 7,000 and there are a few returned for Omalur and tJttan- 
karai. Thanks to their isolation and the feverish climate of their 
habitat, they form a far more homogeneous community than any 
of the castes of the plains, and afford an interesting object lesson 
in ethnology. They trace their origin to Conjeeveram,^ The 
legend runs that three brothers, by name Periyannan, Naduvan- 
nan and Chinnannan, went a hunting in a forest accompanied by 
three hiintin g hounds, and it came on to rain so heavily for two 


^ The Pacliai-kutti and Pnchai-kuttafha Vellalais of the North Arcot 
•Tavadia have also a tradition of migration from Conjeeveram, but they are 
quite a distinct caste from the Malaiyalis of Salem, Triohinopoly and South 
Arcot, though, curiously enough, they own some sort of allegiance to the Vcdar 
Poligars of Kangundi. Legend has it that the Kalraynns, Pachai-malais and 
Kolli-malais were wrested by the three brothers from two heroes known as 
Veda-Yellala and Kana-Eoravar. 


days that they were not able to quit the forest. Their hounds, CPIAP, in 
however, returned home, and their wives, seeing the dogs without Survkt or 

their masters, concluded that their husbands had died in the ' 

jungles, and accordingly, as ail loyal widow's should do, set fire MalafyflliH. 
to their houses and perished in the flames. On the third day the 
hunters returned to find their houses in ashes and their wives 
dead. The bereaved husbands thereupon consoled themselves by 
marrying again ; Periyannan chose a Kaikolar girl, and settled 
on the Kalrayans ; Naduvannan chose a Vedacbi as his bride, 
and the Pachai-malais as his residence ; Chinnannan married a 
Devendra Pallan, and made his home on the Kolli-malais. These 
three brothers thus became the progenitors of the three clearly 
defined sub-castes into which the Malaiyalis are divided, the 
Periya-Malaiyalis, tlie Pachai- Malaiyalis and the Kolli-Malaiyalis. 
The Malaiyalis are also divided into a large number of 
exogamous clans which they call vagujjpus. A curious feature in 
eunnection with these vaguppus is that certain groups of them 
(called dayddi vaguppus) are inter se exogamous also. The 
members of these dayddi clans call one another brothers (annan- 
tamhigal)^ and marriage between them is, for some unknown 
reason, regarded as incestuous. For instance, in Sittur Nad there 
are seven vaguppus; five of which (Pilan, Mukkandi, Pusan, 
Maiiikkan and Tiruvichi) form one dayddi group, and the 
remaining two (Kannan and Tillan) another ; no member of the 
first group of clans may marry into any other clan of that group, 
but must go to some other clan for his bride. Similarly the 
Konan clan of the Mtinur Malaiyalis may not intermarry with 
either the Mattayan, the Emaiyande, or Kannathan clan of 
Tiruppuli Nad, but may take a bride from the Alatti or Pannan 
clan of that Nad, though all the five clans of Tiruppuli Nad 
are inter se exogamous. Similarly among the Pachai-Malaiyalis 
there are about fifty clans, arranged in about eight dayddi gion^^s. 
Some of these vaguppus bear quaint and outlandish names which 
would afford unlimited scope for a philologist's fancy, but it 
cannot be said they are totemistic in origin. 

Of the three sub-castes, the Kolli-Malaiyalis are the most 
conservative and the best organised. They are to be found on 
the Kolli-malais of Naraakkal and Attur Taluks, on the B5da- 
malais and in the valley between the Boda-malais and .Terugu- 
malais.' On the Kolli-malais they are organised into four groups 
of which two, the Three-Nad and the Four-Nad Malaiyalis, are 

* Kolli-Malaiyalis are also found on Pala-malai, Bargilr-malai and Kali-malai 
in Bhavanl Taluk. 

164 SALEM. 

CHA.P III. ^jj Narnakkai with head-quarters respectively at Seltir and 
Castks.^*^ Valapptir ; and two, the Anjur (five- village) and Mxinur (three- 

village) Malaijalis are in Attiir. The Anjur Malaiyalis comprise 

Malaiyalis. ^j^^ g^^ ^^^^ ^f Bayilam, Tiruppuli, Edappuli, Pirakarai and 
Sittur, with a population of 6,641, and the Mtlntir Malaiyalis the 
three Nads of Kunduni, Alattur and Pelappadi, with a popula- 
tion of 1,501. The Anjtir Malaiyalis arc under the jurisdiction 
of the Periya-Pattahkdran of Bayil-Nad, whoso office is hereditary. 
He is not called Rdja, and has no Mandtri. Each of the five 
" Urs " has its Ur-Kavundan, who is elected. Caste disputes are 
decided in the first instance by the Ur-Kavundan in cojisultation 
with a number of Karakkdra7Ls, who are elected, one from each 
clan, in the Ur concerned. An appeal from the decision of the 
pancMyat so constituted lies to the Periya-PattakMran of Bayil- 
Nad, who finally settles the dispute in conjunction with the 
Karakkarans of Bayil-Nad and the Ur-Karundan and Karakkdrans 
of the Ur in which the dispute arose. It is not, however, essential 
that all the Karakkdi^ans should be present in this appellate court, 
and a quorum of five will suffice. Among the Mimur Malaiyalis, 
however, the Ur Kuvandans refer disputed decisions to the Raja of 
the Four Nads at Valappur, whose decision is final. The KoUi- 
Malaiyalis of the Boda-malais and the adjoining valley are ruled 
by a Ndttdn resident at Kiliir, who exercises authority over the 
Kolli-Malaiyalis of Bhavani Taluk also, and from whom an 
appeal may be preferred to the Periya-Pattakkdran} of Bayil-Nad. 
The Pachai-Malaiyrdis are organised into three Nads, of whielji 
two (Ven-Na<l aud Tembara-Nad) are in Trichinopoly^ District, 
•and the third, Atti-Nad, covers the Pachai-malais of Attur. The 
Pachai -Malaiyalis extend, however, across Attur Taluk through 
the Paittur Hills to the villages of the Tumbal Valley, the upper 
Vasishta-nadi, the Arunuttu-malais and the Manjavadi Ghat, 
and are found even as far afield as the hamlets of Kaujeri and 
Palamedu at the western foot of the Shevaroys, and at Voppadi, 
near the headwaters of the Toppur River. For the purposes of 
caste administration they are divided ioto Sub-Nads, Karats 
or Tatnukkus] for instance, Nallaya-Kavundan Nad, Kalatti- 
Kavundan Nad on the Pachai-malais, Manmalai Nad west of the 

* During the minority of the Eaja of Valappur, his powers were exercised 
by his mother who was called Rani, aided by a Mandiri or Prime Minister. 
The adminietraiivo machinery in the KiimakkalN ads is different from that of 
the Attur Nads ; each village or jc'^i having its Ur-Kavundan or Kxdti-vianiyam 
and each Nad its Ndttin, from whom appeals lie to the Paitakldran or Ed)a of 
Valappur or SSlur. See Trich%no^-)ly District Gazetteer, p. 125. 

•Vide Trichinopoly QautUer, p. 124. 


Pacliai-malais, and Paitttir Nad. There are Ndtidns also at chap. hi. 
Mamanji in the Tumbal valley, at Aladi-patti on the Arantittu- ^qYste«'''' 

raalais, at Kiri-patti in the Yasishta-nadi valley north of IMur, 

at Karaniandai with jurisdiction over the Maujavadi villages Malaijalis. 
and the slopes of the Shevaroys, and at Tomba-Kallantir a hamlet 
of Pattukunam-patti north of the Manjavadi Pass, with juris- 
diction extending to the south-western Komhais of the Chitteris 
and the northern and western Komhais of the Shevaroys. The 
Sub-Nads are divided mto pattis, each under the jurisdiction of an 
Ur-Kavundan, whose title is Muppan, and who is assisted by a 
Kangdni. Each Sab-Nad is ruled by a Ndttdn^ JS'ditu-Kavundan 
or Kutti-Kavundan, assisted by one or more Karakkdrans, whose 
appointment is subject to Lis approval. The Ndtidns in turn are 
subject to the authority of a council of seven Chinna-Borais^ presi- 
ded over by a Periya-Dorai, who is sometimes called Eaja and 
resides at Sethakam on the Pachai-malais. Under the Dorais are 
certain Mandiris or Prime Ministers, whose powers seem a little 
vague. There are Mandiris at Pakkalam, on the Pachai-malais, at 
Paitttir and at Kiri-patti. The Paitttir Mandiri is acknowledged 
by 12 Karats^ the Kiri-patti Mandiri by six Karats. The 
Paittur Mandiri lays claim to a precedence over the Pakkalam 
Mandiri^ which is not admitted by some influential members of 
the community. 

The Periya-Malaiyalis hold the Kalrayans. the Shevaroys and 
the Chitteris. They call themselves Karalans^, a name which some 
authorities connect with Kerala, the ancient name for Malabar. 
The Kalrayans (population in Kallakurchi Taluk a little over 
20,000, in Atttir Taluk not quite 10,000) are said to have been 
colonised by five Chieftains, whose descendants still govern the 
five Kalrayan Jaghirs,^ as a sort of priestly hierarchy, each Jaghir 
being divided into several Sub-Nads. Intermarriage between the 
Malaiyalis of the Kalrayans and those of the Shevaroys is 
extremely rare, owing, no doubt, to distance, a frequent cause 
of fission in the caste system. The Sh evaroys are divided into 
three Nads, (1) Sela-Nad (Salem), '(2) Moha-Nad, (3) Mutta-Nad 
each under its own Pattakkdran, and each containing nine 

^ The Chinna-Dorais live at Mayambadi, Mangalam,Manjarai (2), Pudur, Pak- 
kalam and Nallamat/i. 

* The term appears in the inscriptions of Asoka and is supposed to be 
identical with Chera, see Malabar District Gazetteer, p. 27. The Malaiyalis of 
the Pachai-malais and Kolli-malais also lay claim to the title Karalan. 

^ (1) Periya-Kalrayans, (2) Chinna-Kalrayans, (3) Jadaya-Kavundan Nad, 
(4) Kuruba-Kavtindan Nad, (5) Ariya-Kavnndan Nad ; see below, Vol. II, p. 
299, and of South Arcot District Gazetteer, p. 329 sq. for the functions of these 



Survey of 


CHAP. IIT. pattis under Muppans, who are elected as a rule, each from a 
vaguppn prescribed by custom. The Pait/ikkarans are assisted by 
Maniyakkarans^ who give notice of marriages to the villages of the 
Nad concerned, and summon the villagers to attend ; the Muppans 
are assisted by Kangonis. The village of Chitteri is the residence 
of a Guru, who appears to be revered by all three sub-castes of 

Brahman purohits^ are not usually employed by Malaiyalis, and 
the purohiVs duties at marriages and other domestic occurrences 
are performed by the caste officers above enumerated, in addition 
to their judicial functions. A Paitakkaran or Dorai is treated 
with great respect, and his dignity requires that whoever meets 
him should prostrate before him. 

Though the traditions of the Malaiyalis trace their origin to 
Conjeeveram, their easterns point to Malabar, and it has been con- 
jectured that they migrated from the ancient Kingdom of Kerala.^ 
Kalrayan inscriptions (Vol. II, p. 300) throw no light on the sub- 
ject. It is possible, however, that certain Malaiyali customs are 
survivals of a state of civilization which at one time was common 
to both the east and west of the Indian Peninsula, and which 
is now confined to the Malabar Coast. The customs referred 
to are the following : — 

(1) Among the Kolli-Malaiyalis, boys and girls wear the 
forelock {mun-kudumi) which is such a becoming and universal 
feature of the West Coast Hindus, the rest of the head being 
shaved. Boys retain this forelock till they are about 12 years of 
age, and girls- till they attain puberty ; boys then have this fore- 
lock shaved off, and grow a kudwni at the back of the head in 
accordance with the fashion universal'^ in the East Coast Districts, 
and girls allow all their hair to grow. Among the Pachai-Malai- 
yalis also, little girls wear the forelock, but, unlike their Kolli- 
malai cousins, they do not wait for puberty before they shave it off. 

(2) The women of the Kolli-raalais wear cloths of white 
cotton, tied across the breast and under the armpits, never passed 
over the shoulder, and falling a little below the knees. The other 
two sub-castes, however, follow the fashion of the plains. 

(3j The women of the Kolli-malais wear beneath their 
ordinary cloth a short loin-cloth of white cotton about a yard and 

1 The KolIi-MalaiyaliB of Bhavani Taluk are, however, said to acknowledge as 
Ouru an Ayjaiipar Brahman residing at Pulaveri. 

* A suggestiye article by Mr. M. D. Subbaroyan is printed in V^ol. V, p. 821 eq. 
of the Indian Rertetc (190 i). The theories therein advanced are not, however, 
tenable in the light of historical criticism. 

•Except among Soliya Brahmans and Dlkshitars, see Castes and Tribes, 
Vol. T, p. 341. 



a half long and three-fourths of a yard wide, which serves no CHAP, ill 
apparent useful purpose, but bears a striking resemblance to that Survey ok 

worn by the girls of Malabar. Similar cloths are worn by the t ' 

women of tho other two sub-eastes beneath their colonred pudavats} MHlaiyaliB 

(4) Thoug'h tattooing is permitted among the Paohai-Malai- 
yalis and the Periya-Malaiyalis, yet the KolU-Malaiyalis entertain 
such a strong prejudice against the practice, that they will not 
permit any tattooed person to enter one of their houses. Why 
their feeling on the subject should be so strong is not clear, but 
it is a significant fact that on the Malabar Coast, tattooing is 
practically unknown.^ 

(5) On attainment of maturity some Malaiyali girls remain 
under pollution for 30 days, a period longer than any recognised 
in the plains, but by no means uncommon in Malabar. I^'here 
appears, however, to be a tendency among Malaiyalis to shorten the 

(6) The only ear-ornament worn by girls among the Kolli- 
Malaiyalis is a '' big boss-shaped hollow cylinder of gold or gilt from 
an inch to an inch-and-a-half or more in diameter",* an ornament 
which requires the lobe of the ear to be largely extended in order 
that it may be fitted in, and which resembles the toda worn by 
Nayar women. 

It is impossible to believe that the above customs, which differ- 
entiate the Malaiyalis from the Hindus of the plains, are inno- 
vations on their ancestral observances, and they must therefore be 
survivals. It is clear, too, that the Malaiyalis of the Kolli-malais 
have been less affected by the forces of assimilation than their 
cousins. Whatever be the source to which these survivals should 
be traced, the suggested affinity with the civilization of Malabar 
seems further corroborated by certain marriage customs which 
appear to be the reminiscences of a polyandrous civilization such as 
that which has made the Nayars and kindred communities famous. 

The Malaiyalis observe the rule of menarlkam (see p. 133) with 
unusual rigor, and with curious results. An inconvenience in- 
herent in the menarlkam system is that sometimes the urimm-girl 
is a good deal older than the husband allotted to her by fate and 
oustorn. Hence it sometimes happens that "sons when mere 

1 Mr. S. Krishaaswamv Ayyangar writes " Two pieces of cloth were worn 
by all women in early times, though I am not certain when actually the practice 
drops out. It seems to be quite an Aryan practice, as I have seen it referred to 
quite often in Sanscrit literature." As a general usage it survives ou the West 
Coast. See Malabar District Gazetteer, p. 143. 

* The practice of tattooing among the Pachai-ilalaiyalis is traced tradition- 
ally to the Vedaohi bride of Naduvannan. 
' Vide Malabar District Gazetteer, p. 145. 




sorvky of 


children are married to mature females and the father-in-law of 
the hride assumes the performance of the procreative function " — 
and raises up a progenj on his son's behalf. " When the putative 
father comes of age, and in their turn his wife's male offspring are 
married, he performs for them the same oflRco that his father did 
for him." If the boy-husband's father is dead, or is not particu- 
larly fond of his daughter-in-law, one of his brothers or some 
other near male relative maj bo requisitioned to take charge of 
the girl.^ Another curious custom reported of the Periya-M alai- 
yalis is that the wedding tali is not tied by the bridegroom, but by 
a stranger known as the Kaniyan, whose function seems analogous 
to that of the Manaidlan in a {ali-heUu-hal yanam in Malabar.^ Yet 
more significant is the fact that though a woman lives openlj in 
adultery, all the children she bears to her paramour^ are regarded 
as the lawful children of her rightful husband. In fact, divorce is 
not permitted among the Periy a -Malaiyalis, is discountenanced by 
the Kolli-Malaiyalis, and a husband never loses the proprietary 
right over his wife's children, whoever their father may be. The 
Pachai- Malaiyalis are said to allow divorce on payment of a fine 
of Es. 25, but the practice is presumably an innovation, imitative 
of the customs of the plains. 

On the whole the marriage customs of the Malaiyalis differ 
but little from those of the plains*. The betrothal contract is 
settled in the presence of the Ur-ICavundan, and if the contracting 
parties belong to different villages, the Ur-Kavundans of both 
villages should be present, and the Pattakknran's consent should 
be obtained. The bride-price varies, and is often paid in kind; 
the Pachai- Malaiyalis of tjttankarai give ionr kandagams of grain, 

* It is a oastom that the Malaiyalis are not proud of, and thoy are reluc 
tant to admit its existence. That the practice was onco widespread cannot be 
doubted. " See Trichinopoly District Gazetteer, p. 94, cf. p. 103 (Konga Vcllalars), 
and p. 123 (TCttiyans). 

* See Malabar District Gazetteer, pp. 101 and 173. On the Kolli-mahiirt tho 
tali is said tx) be tied by the Ur-Kavundan. Intercourse between the Kaniyan 
and the bride would be considered incestuous. Mr. Le Fanu writes that "on 
the day of marriage the Malaiyali bride in tho ChittCri villages is tho common 
property of all the villagers except the person chiefly interested, but after that 
date she belongs to him exclnsively, " and adds with reference to the last sen- 
tence '■ in theory at least, for tho village bouses ha\ie generally two doors, at 
one of which the paramour deposits his slippers on entering ; should tho master 
of the house after seeing these persist in entering his own house, he would be 
held guilty of a very serious breach of ■village etiqaette. " [Salem District 
Manual, Vol. II, p. 274. ] Local enquiries show that this custom is still obferved. 

3 Provided of coarse that he is a Malaiyali ; a liason with a man of another 
caste invariably involves excommanication. 

* For a description of a Malaiyali wedding on the Shevaroys see Castes 
and Tribes, Vol. IV, p. 220, 


4 papodas (Es. 14) in cash, and a cow with calf ; elsewhere it CHAP. ill. 
rangea from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50. A fee of Rs. 10-8-0 should also be ^^cYsiks'"' 

paid to the officer h of the caste^ but this may be remitted by the ' 

Pattakkaraii . On the Pachai-malais the preliminary nalangu is Malaiyalis. 
performed on Sundays, the pandals erected at the houses of both 
bride and hridegroom ^ on Wednesday, and the Muhurtam takes 
place at the bride's house on 'I'liursday. At the house of each 
party a kalasam is prepared of three new vessels placed one above 
the other, and is taken to the Vignesvara temple on the Wednes- 
day night. The order in vihioiipdn-supdri is distributed is governed 
by rigid etiquette. The Periya-Dorai receives five shares, the other 
Dorais four each, the Mandiris throe each, the Kutta-Kavundan two 
and the MUppan one. The bridegroom then presents the bride with 
the kurai, a white or red cloth with a black border, measuring from 
12 to 17 cubits in length and from 2 to 3 cubits wide ^ On the 
Kolli-malais the ceremonies take place at the bridegroom's house, 
whither the bride is taken between daybreak and 7 a.m. on the 
wedding morning. The bridegroom places the tali on the girl's 
neck, and the Ur-Kavundan, standing behind her, ties it. It is 
the Ur-Kavundan, too, who places the hand of the boy in that of 
the girl, and who pours water over their clasped hands. 

Widow re-marriage is permitted in all three sub-castes^ The 
Kolli-Malaiyalis do not permit a widow to marry her husband's 
brother ; the Pachai-Malaiyalis allow such unions. At a widow 
marriage among Kolli-Malaiyalis the bridal couple kneel opposite 
each other, and a cloth is suspended between them ; the bride- 
groom passes the tali under the cloth, and places it on the bride's 
neck, but he is not allowed to see the face of the bride till the tali 
is tied by the Ur-Kavundan. When a widow marries, the children 
she bore to her first husband are taken charge of by their father's 
nearest male relative, and it is usual for a father to register his 
patta land in the name of his children to prevent it being enjoyed 

1 See Dr. Shortt'8 Hill Ranges, Vol. Ill, pp. 39 and 40. " The poor generally 
pay at the time only a portion, whilst the remainder of the dowry is paid by yearly 
instalments, and instances have come to my knowledge whero the son was pay- 
ing by dribs and drabs the dowry duo by his father when he married his mother. 
Should an elderly man marry a young girl, he has to pay a intich larger dowry 
than would be required of a young man." 

2 Marriage at the bridegroom's house appears to have been the original 
customj but the PattakMran may claim the privilege of fixing the place where 
the wedding should be celebrated. Cf. Dr. Shortt's Hill Ranges, Vol. II, p. 39, 

3 The kurai of the Peiiya-Malaiyalis is said to be only three or four oubi(s 
in length. 

* This practice is said to be prohibited among the Dorais of the Pachai- 




sukvey of 



by his widow's husband. Divorce proceedings among the Pachais 
Maliiiyalis are of the simplest description ; tlio husband declares 
in the presence of the Guru, that be has abandoned his wife, and 
he tenders her a bit of straw or a splinter of wood in token of 
repudiation. She is not allowed, however, to marrj a second 
husband till her first husband dies. 

It is possible that a pollution period of thirty days on attain- 
ment of maturity was at one time observed throughout the caste, 
and that the period has subsequently been shortened in imitation 
of lowland practice. On the Pachai-malais, it is said, the girl 
is kept in a hut outside the village for five days, and on the 6th 
she is bathed and admitted into the house, but the house remains 
under minor pollution for another thirty days, and no villager may 
enter it. Throughout tjiese thirty days tlie girl is bathed daily, 
water being poured over her head, and the house is cleansed once 
a week. The Pachai-Malaiyalis of Uttankarai Taluk, however, 
observe segregation and pollution for twelve days. Some 
KoUi-Malaiyalis observe thirty days' pollution, some only fifteen. 
Among the Periya-Malai} illis the period varies from seven to 
eleven days. For the purification ceremony it is the fashion for 
the few who can afford it to employ Brahman purO/tits. Purifica- 
tion after childbirth is said to take place on the 12th, 15th 
or 16th day, but the Paohai-Malaiyalis observe pollution of a 
minor kind for thirty days. No formal child -naming ceremony 
is performed, and no fixed rule appears to exist as to when 
a child should bo named. A KoUi-Malaiyali child is named 
sometimes on the 10th day, sometimes in the 3rd month after 
birth, on the Pachai-malais at the eud of a year, while on 
the Shevaroys the name is given on the 3rd day. It is not un- 
common to consult the local pUjdri as to what name should be 
selected, the priest, after certain ceremonies, announcing the name 
under divine inspiration. Children are often named after popular 
deities, e.g., Kongan (Kongay, if a girl), Vadaman (Vadami), 
Sirangan (Sirangi), Pidavan (Pidari), Kali, Arppali, etc. ; in fact 
boys are more frequently named after a God than after their 
grandfather (p. 132). Popular nicknames are Kariyan (black), 
Vellaiyan (fair), Kuttaiyan (short). Sadaiyan (curly), Periya 
Payal (big boy), Chinna Payal (little boy), etc. It is the practice 
among the Kolli-Malaiyalis to bore the left nostril,^ among the 
Pachai-Malaiyalis the right nostril, and among the Periya- 
Malaiyalis neither nostril. Malaijali women never wear the 
ravikkai, and, while at home or in the field, they leave bare the 
shoulders, arms and upper part of the body ; before strangers, 

» Dr. Shortt, Hill Ranges, Vol; II, p. 37. 



however, and when going to market " the upper end of the oloth is CHAP. III. 

loosened from over the breast or waist and carried across the left Shevey ok 

shoulder, and thrown loosely over the back, shoulders, and arms." ''' ' 

The Pachai-Malaijalis seem peeiiliarly fond of coloar ; their women Malaiyalis. 

never wear white except on their wedding day, when they don 

the kurai (p. 159), which is never tied above the waist. They 

are permitted to wear either " black " or red cloths, and generally 

prefer a dash of yellow, orange, or green ; they wear green and 

crimson glass in their ear-rings, and even the men affect bright 

colours in their only article of attire, the komanam. Their dietary 

is of the usual type, and includes pork. Malaiyalis of both sexes 

are ardent smokers. The practice of producing fire by silica and 

steel survives among the Pachai-Malaiyalis, only two or three 

men in a patti possessing the necessary apparatus, which, together 

with some charred cotton, is kept in a small leather pouch. The 

houses and agricultural methods of the Malaiyalis are referred to 

elsewhere (pp. 108 and 211). The duties of the barber, dhoby 

and midwife are performed by people of their own caste. Thej" 

engage Pariahs, however, to play tom-toms, etc , on ceremonial 

occasions, and Pariahs are employed as agricultural labourers and 

assist them on their hunting excursions. When any of their cattle 

die, they will not go near or touch the carcase, but send for the 

nearest Pariahs to come and remove it ; but should an animal get 

injured intentionally or accidentally, and be likely to die of the 

injury, they will then sell them to the coolies for a trifle. Some of 

the Malaiyalis are in great repute as cow-doctors, and they will set 

a broken leg very well. They will not touch a cow-hide or use it as 

ropes for their ploughs, etc., nor do they make any attempts to 

secure the hide of their catfcle that die ; it becomes the perquisite 

of the Pariahs who remove the carcase, i 

Malaiyalis ordinarily bury their dead, but they burn those who 
die of cholera, leprosy or any other infectious or epidemic disease. 
"When cremation is resorted to, the milk-ceremony is omitted. 
The rites observed are similar to those of the plains. The bier 
is sometimes covered by a canopy, in which case it is called a t6r. 
The pollution period varies ; on the Pachai-Malais it is said to 
last a mouth, among the Pachai-Malaiyalis of Uttankarai for ten 
days, among the Periya- Malaiyalis for twelve or fifteen days, and 
on the Kolli-malais it closes on the third day. The ghosts of the 
dead are believed to haunt the house, and must be propitiated with 
sacrifices of fowls, goats, pigs, etc., as the puj'dri prescribes, or a 
peg of Strychnos nux-vomica, or a nail is driven into the grave over 

1 Dr. Shortt's Hill Ranges, Vol. II, p. il. 




sorvey of 


the head of the corpse. No srdddhas are performed, but the spirits 
of departed ancestors are worshipped on occasions of marriage, 
childbirth and puberty, during public festivals, and on Fridays, as 
pattavans or liousehold deities. A Malaiyali's house is hold sacred, 
and not even a Brahman is allowed to enter it with shoes on. 

The Malaiyalis worship both Siva and Vishnu impartially, and 
they wear both ndinam and vibhrdi, the former being reserved 
usually for religious worship, and the latter for everyday use. 
They do not, however, ordinarily resort to Brahmanic temples or 
employ Brahman archakars} The patron deity of the caste is 
Kari-Eaman, an incarnation apparently of Vishnu. His chief 
shrine is at K5vil-Padur, in the Mol-Xad of the Periya Kalrayana. 
He has a shrine at Tammampatti, and a somewhat pretentious 
temple in his honour was built a few years ago at Karadiyur on 
the Shevaroys. It contains idols of Siva and Parvati, Vishnu and 
Lakshmi, Vignosvara, and a dozen upright stones in two rows, 
decorated with wliite spots. The entrance is adorned with Sanku, 
chakram and ndmam, the superstructure with figures of Vislinu, 
Rg,ma, four Garudas and four Nandis. Puj'a is performed every 
Saturday, and a car-festival takes place in Maai. The pujdri is 
prohibited from tasting flesh, a,nd may not attend any animal 
sacrifice, or dine with flesh-eaters. No blood-sacrifices are made 
to Kari-Raman, and it is said that any who have taken part in a 
blood-sacrifice are prohibited from entering his temple till after 
the lapse of three or four days. In pursuance of a vow Malaiyalis 
of both sexes dedicate tl^eir hair at the shrine. 

A similar vagueness appears to exist regarding the god whoso 
shrine is on the Bhevarayau Hill, Dr. Shortt preserves a tradition 
that " a Shorvacaran or Commander of a body of soldiers, being 
a pious and holy man, visited this hill from the low country to 
worship Earaaswami, the then presiding deity. His piety gained 
him much more honour and fame, and when he died, which he 
did on this hill, it was called after him, and images of stone were 
made and placed in the temple. Ramaswami was forgotten and 
Shervacaran took his place." ^ 

The cult of Vishnu survives also in a vague form in the 
Perumal-kovils to be found in many Malaiyali villages ; this 

1 The temple of Arappallavaran in ValappQr Nad is an exception. (Trichino- 
poly District Gazetteer, p. 175.) They also regard with great reverence the 
Vishnu temple of Srlrangam. 

* Hill Ranges, Vol. II, p. 48. The shrine is said to have once contained an 
idol of gold, but this was stolen and a stone idol took its place. For a dosciip- 
tion of the festival, see Castes and Tribes, Vol. IV, p. 415 sq. 


Perumfil cult is harldy recognisable as Vishnu worship,^ and CHAP. iir. 

sometimcB the dcitj is unprovided with a shrine. The cult is, Survey of 

however, entirely dissociated from blood-sacrifice, and the pujari ' ' 

(a Malaiyali) is usually a vegetarian. The appropriate day for Malaijalis. 

Perumal worship is Saturday. The Kolli-Malaiyalis worship a 

god they call Arangattappan or Aranga-Sivan, whom they regard 

as the tribal god of the three eponymous ancestors of the caste^ 

and who appears to be a counterpart of Kari-Eaman. In 

Kuuduni Nad ^ he is served by a Brahman Gurukkal, and the 

ritaal observed is hardly distinguishable from that of an ordinary 

Siva temple ; abhisheliham consists of bathing the idol first with 

water, then with milk, and thirdly with gingelly oil ; it is then 

dressed in a new cloth and marked with sandal and kunkumam ; 

dhupam is then offered ; lamps are lighted, a plantain leaf full 

of cooked food is placed before the idol, the usual mantras are 

repeated, and camphor is burnt ; blood -sacrifices are altogether 

avoided, and the only offerings made are boiled grain, milk, sugar, 

fruit and other items appropriate to Siva worship. His attendant 

Aranga Sevagan receives worship as a distinct deity ,^ but his 

priest is a Malaiyali and not a Brahman. The cult of Vignesvara 

is as ubiquitous among the Malaiyalis as elsewhere, and he is 

often worshipped in the form of neolithic implements placed 

upright or heaped promiscuously in a little dolmen'* or in a 

shrineless walled enclosure. Monday is the proper day for the 

worship of Vignesvara. There is a temple of Subrahraanya under 

the familiar name of Kandaswami in Pirakarai Nad ; with a 

three days' festival in Panguni (March — April), but otherwise 

his cult is rare. Kamakshi is also honoured with a few shrines 

and there are a few Dharmaraja temples devoted to the Pandava 


The list of minor deities worshipped by the Malaiyalis is a 
long one. Their favourite Saktis are Kali, Pidari and Mari ; 
Ayyanar, too, is worshipped. Kali has an annual car-festival in 
Edappuli Nad in Chittrai or Vaiyasi. Saturday is in some parts 
her special day of worship. Pidari has many epithets, such as 
Periya, Chinna, Soka, Pudu, Karum, Karakkattu, Malunguttu, 
etc. Her favourite week-day and her annual festivals vary iE 

^ One such onlfc in Gundtir IHM, Namakkal KoUi-malais, goes by the e-^tra- 
ordinary name of " Pgy (Demon) Perumal." 

^ Also iu Gundur Nad of the Namakkal KoUi-malais. 

' According to some accounts both Aranga-Sivan and his peon are honoured 
■with the sacrifice of fowls and goats. Some informants, however, actually 
identify Aranga-Sevagan with Arangattappan. 

* E.g., at Melur and Kakkambadi on the Shevaroys. 



CHAP. in. 

sorvet of 


(ii) Telujru 

different Nads. The chief festival of Mari-amraan, or Mariyayi 
as she is often called, occurs in the spring months, Tai, Masi, or 
Panguni, about the time of full moon. Her special week-days 
are Tuesdays and Fridays. Other important " mother goddesses"" 
are Naehi-amraa, Pongalayi, Kongalayi and Ponnayi. Nachi is 
variously known as Mela-Nachi, Koda-kara-Nachi, Ariya-Nachi, 
Elaya- Nachi, Elu-karai-Nachi, etc. Her special week-day appears 
to he Thursday. She must be worshipped in perfect silence, 
and the prasdda is taken home by the worshippers. She is 
said to be a patron goddess of the Vedans, and the existence of 
her cult among the KoUi-Malaiyalis is traced to their Vedachi 
ancestress.^ Pongalayi is called by mauy epithets, e.g., Kosakkuli, 
Mayilati, Tannipali, Velarayan, Mtilakadu, Panikkankadu, 
Pekkadu, etc. The demons worshipped by the Malaiyalis are 
known by many names, such as Periya-Andavan, Andi-appan, 
Nambi-andan, Sadayan, Vettukkaran, Masi-Malaiyan, Urulaiyan, 
etc., but by far the most important cult is that of Karuppan, who 
is propitiated in every village by pig sacrifiee, his special per- 
quisite being the livers of the victims. With him is sometimes 
associated a female deity known as Kanni-amma. 

Mauy of these minor deities have no shrines, and are wor- 
shipped in the open air or in a roofless walled enclosure, especially 
in the case of Karuppan. They are served by piijdria of Malai- 
yali caste, who are known as Tathans or Andis, and whose office 
is often hereditary. It is usual for one and the same pujdri to 
serve several deities, and he is sometimes distinguished from his 
fellow Malaiyalis by his turban, by growing his hair long, and 
sometimes by abstaining from animal food for a period or 
throughout his life. The chief general festivals observed hy 
Malaiyalis are Poiigal, Dipavali and the 18t.h Adi. The second 
day of Pongal (Mattu-Pongal) is celebrated by a great hunting 
excursion, and by bull-dances.^ 

The Telugu ryots are known by the general name Kapu, a 
term which is loosely applied to the caste groups otherwise 
known as Ee<idis, Kammas, 'I'oiagas and Volamas, and even 
Balijas, and is extended to the Kanarese Vakkiligas also. The 
" Kapus " number over 44,<'00, of whom 35,0UO are returned for 
Hosur Taluk, over 2,0<i0 for Salem and about the same number 
for Attur. Most of the Hostir Kapus, however, are Kanarese 
Vakkiligas. The Kammas (4,t58l) are found mostly in Hosur 

1 Cf. her fult at Anganamalai (Jlaharaja-gadai), the former centre ol Vcdan 
(Kanyundi) influence, Vol. II, p. 178. 

* See description ot a bull-dance in Castes and Tribes, Vol. IV, p. 417. 


and the Telagas (841) in Salora. The Velamas ^ number only 91, OIIAF. III. 

all ia Ilosfir Taluk. The exact relationship between these castes Survey of 

has not yet been clearly determined ; it is probable, however, that ' 

they, together with the Balijaa (see p. 178) and the Eazus (see ^elugu 
p. 191), come originally of the same stock, and settled in the 
District in the wake of the Vijayanagar conquests. The Telagas, 
Balijas and Eazus claim military antecedents, and there is 
evidence for classing the Kammas as Balijas. One more im- 
portant class of Telugu cultivators deserves mention, viz., the 
Tottiyas, who number 6,410, and who are found mostly in the 
Taluks of Salem, Tiruchengodu and Omaltir. They are an 
interesting Telugu caste peculiar to the Tamil country. ^ 

The best kuown sub- castes of Kapus in Salem District are : — Kapus 

(1) the Pdkanatis, (3) the Nerati and 

(2) the Pedakanti, (4) the Panta Reddis. 

The Pokanati lleddis are commonest in Dharmapuri Taluk ; ^ 
a few occur near Tumbal, in the north of Attur Taluk, but not 
in the Sweta-nadi Valley. 

Pedakanti Reddis are found in the south-west and south of 
tjttankarai Taluk, in Dharmapuri and in Hosur.^ In the 
Baramahal Records the name '" is spelt " Perdagantuwaru," and is 
said to be derived from joerat/w, a back-door, the legend being that 
once on a time a Guru campid near the village where their ancestor 
dwelt, and sent an attendant Ddsari to apprise the villagers of his 
arrival ; when the Ddsari came to the Eeddi's house, the latter, out 
of meanness, bolted out of the back-door, and the (3-uru, on hearing 
of it, declared that he and his descendants should henceforth have 
no Guru.^ The same authority divides the " Perdagunta " Eeddis 

^ The Velamas (who call themselves Naiclu) trace their origin to Kalahasti 
in Chittoor District, They bear a close affinity to the Kammas, They 
repudiate any connection with the Balijas, who call them Guni Tsakalavandlu 
(hunchbacked-washermen). Vide North Arcot Manual, Vol. I, p. 21G, and Castes 
and Tribes, Vol, VII, p. 336. 

2 Tottiyans are described in detail in Madura District Gazetteer, p. 106, and 
Trichinopoly , District Gazetteer, p. 121 ; cf. Madras Census Eeport, 1891 
paragraph 361, and Madras Census Report, 1871, p. 146 ; also Castes and Tribes, 
Vol. VII, p. 183. 

3 E.g., Maranda-halli, Palakodu, Golla-patti. 

* E.g., Baira-nattam and Ketn-Reddi-patti in Uttaukarai, and Achitta-palli 
in Hosur. 

* The name is also sometimes given as " Penakanti," and they gay they 
came from a place called Gandi-kottai " near Penukonda." Possibly the name 
Pedakanti is an atrocious corruption of Penukonda. Gandi-kota is a stronghold 
of historic fame, a few miles south-west of Jammalamadugu in Cuddapah 

8 They are reported, however, to acknowledge as Gwtt one Sri Saila SQrya- 
Simhasanam Bhiksha-pati Ayyar of Jlgtir in Komarna-palli Taraf, Hosur Taluk. 




Survey of 




into two sections, Chinna-gumpu and Pedda-gumpu, and sub-castes 
bearing these names occur in Omalur Taluk and in the adjoining 
portion of Dharmapuri.' Tliey have no Graru, but own the 
authority of a Paitakkdran at Vellar. They interdine with the 

The Reddis of Attur Taluk almost all belong to the sub- 
caste known as Panta Kapu, but the term Kapu is never used 
among them. Their chief settlements are in the valloy of the 
Sweta-nadi,^ in villages bordering on Trichinopoly District ; in 
fact, they are closely akin to the Eeddis of Trichinopoly, and are 
probably off-shoots of the Telugu settlements formed in the lower 
valley of the Kaveri, when Trichinopoly and Madura became the 
seats of Vijayanagar Viceroys.^ 

The Nerati Kapus are the most numerous sub-caste of Kapus 
in Hosur, their chief settlement being at Morasur. They also 
occur in Dharmapuri. Like the Pdkanatis and Pedakantis, they 
acknowledge the Guru at Jigtlr. 

In addition to the above sections, there are communities of 
Koditti (orKodatha), Sajjala, Yelochi and Sirapari Kapus reported 
from Hosur Taluk. In Dharmapuri Kantha Eeddis are to be 
found near Toppur, and Perumba Eeddis also occur. Whether 
any of these are true sub-castes, or whether they are to be identi- 
fied with the better-known divisions is uncertain. The Kapus 
employ Brahman purohiia and are almost all votaries of Vishnu.* 

The Kammas are said to derive their name from the word 
kamma (Tamil, kainmal), a large ear-ornament worn by their 
women. Their customs approximate closely to those of the Bali- 
jas. They are divided into two sub-castes, (1) Goda Chatulu and 
(2) Gampa Chatulu,* the legend being that two sisters were 
bathing, when a king passed by, and the bashful maids hid, one 
behind a wall (goda) and the other behind a basket {(jampa) and 
these two sisters were respectively the mothers of the two castes. 

1 Chinnji-^iupu Reddis are found lit Ondi-kota. ronnd Toppftr in Dliarma- 
puri, and in Rami-Keddi-patti and ArQr-patti, Onialar Taluk; Pedda-gumpn 
Reddis at NallQr, Kongu-patti and Vellar. 

* E.g., Sendara-patti, Tammampatti, Kondayam-galli, Vlraganttr, Kadana- 
bar, Tidavar, NaduvalQr, Gangavalli, Anaiyampatti. They also occur at Pana- 

' Vide Tridxinoyoly District Gazetteer, pp. 117 to 119. The Trichinopoly 
Reddis are represented by the POkanatis and PantaR. The Pokanatis are ex- 
tremely rare in the Balaghat tracts of Salem District, and their alternativo 
name Pongala Reddis is said to be unknown. 

* For details regarding the customs of the Kapus and allied castes see 
Trichinopoly District Gazetteer, p. 117; North A root Manual, \o]. I, pp. 214!-7 ; 
Castes and Tribes, Vol. Ill, pp. 222-47. 

* Vide the legend recorded in North Arcot Manual, Vol, I, p. 215. 


Another variation is that in a desperate battle at Gaudi-kota CHAP. III. 
almost all the Kammaa^ were destroyed, except a few who took Survby of 

refuge behind a wall or in baskets.^ Possibly the Muttu-kamnia '_' 

(or Musa-Kamma) Ealijas, who are found very rarely in Salem Kammas. 
Taluk, should properly be classed as Kammas. In the BaramahaL 
Records Kammas are divided into two sections, the Musuku- 
Kammas and the Bairu-Kammas. 

The general term for Kanarese ryots is Vakkiliga, or, in. its (iii) Kanarese 
Tamilised form, Okkiliyan. As already stated, the words Vakki- vaSga"' 
liga and Kapu are often int Tchangeable, and it is certain that 
many Vakkiligas have been returned as Kapus, especially in 
Hostir Taluk, where no Yakkiligas have been returned at all. 
The Census for 1911 shows 3,078 Vakkiligas, most of them 
occurring in Dharmapuri Taluk. The Vakkiligas are of immense 
importance in Mysore State, where they form the backbone of the 
population. Three well-marked divisions occur in Salem District 
—(1) Morasu, (2) Kunchiga and (3) Gangadikara. 

The Morasu Vakkiligas derive their name from the ancient 
Morasu Nad, which comprised the eastern districts of Mysore 
State and the adjoining taluks of Salem and Chittoor Districts. 
They predominate in Hostir Taluk, and are the only division 
represented in Krishuagiri/ 

The Morasu Vakkiligas apparently include several sub-castes,* 
among them the Icht-viralu, or " finger giving,"^ Vakkiligas, 
so-called from the custom which compelled every woman of the 
caste, previous to piercing the ears of her eldest daughter as a 
preliminary to betrothal,^ to have the last joints of the ring and 

« Vide Castes and Tribes, Vol. Ill, p. 96. 

2 Vide JTorf/i Arcot Manual,Yo\. I, p. 215. For Oandi'kdta see above p. 165, 
foot-note 5, s.v. Perdaganti Kapus. 

3 Their chief settlements are at Pedda-lSTallur and Sudiyalam (Aohitta-palli 
taraf), in Hosur and at Made-palli in Krishnagiri Taluk. 

* Vide JE.S.M., No. XV, Morasu Okkala, p. 5. 

5 Or Beralkoduva (Kan.), for the finger-giving Vakkiligas comprise both 
Telugu and Kanarese sub-sections, who, it is said, intermarry. 

^ According to Buchanan (quoted in Castes and. Tribes, Vol. V, p. 75) 
Abb6 Dubois (Hindu Manners and Customs, 1897, p. 18), Mr. L. Rice 
{Mysore Gazetteer, Vol. I, p. 230) and E.S.M., IS'o. XV, p. 10. Abb6 Dubois, 
howev9r, says two joints in each finger are lopped off. Other authorities Ce.g. 
Madras Census Report, 1891, S.D.M., Vol. I, p. 137) connect the finger-giving witli 
the birth of a grandchild. Mr. Le Fanu writes " when a grandchild is born in 
a family, the eldest son of the grandfather, with his wife, appear at the temple 
for the ceremony of boring the child's ear, and there the woman has the last 
two joints of the third and fourth fingers of her right hand chopped off. It 
does not signify whether the father of the first grandchild born be the eldest 
son or not, as in any case it is the wife of the eldest son who has to undergo 
the nmtilation." 




Survey of 


little fitrgers of her right hand chopped off by the village black- 
smith's chisel, as a sacrifice to the caste-god Bandi-Devaru ^ (the 
" Cart God "), who is by some identified with Siva. The legend- 
ary origin of this curious custom is as follows: — "When the 
demon Bhasmasura had obtained the power of reducing every- 
thing he touched to ashes by severe iapas, he wished to test his 
power first on god Siva, the donor himself. The deity fled from 
the demon and hid himself in the fruit of a creeper, which to this 
day resembles a linga in appearance. The demon who was pursu- 
ing the god, suddenly losing sight of the latter, asked a Morasu 
man who was ploughing in the fields there, in which direction the 
fugitive had escaped. The man of the plough wished to evade 
the wrath of both the mighty parties and while saying he had not 
observed, pointed with his fingers to the creeper on the hedge 
which had sheltered the fleeing god. Just in the nick of time 
Vishnu came to the help of his brother in the sliapo of a lovely 
maiden, M5hini. The Eakshasa became enamoured of her, and 
like a fool, forgetting the fatal virtue that his bare touch had 
been endowed with, he was lured by the damsel to place his hand 
on his own head, and was immediately reduced to a heap of ashes. 
Siva now triumphant was about to punish the treacherous rustic 
with the loss of his erring finger, but his wife, who had carried his 
food, begged hard that the deprivation would render hira unfit to 
do his field work and offered two fingers of hors for one of her 
husband." ' The practice is now obsolete, having been stopped 
by the Mysore Government, and the women now content them- 
selves with " putting on a gold or silver finger-stall or thimble, 
which is pulled off instead of the finger itself." ^ 

Kunchiga Vakkiligas occur both in Hosur and Dharmapuri 

Gangadikara Vakkiligas derive their name from the ancient 
country of Gangavadi.^ Denkani-kota and Tagatti are the head- 
quarters of two Nads or Gadis, each under its own Ndttu-Karun- 
dan, but they are most numerous in Dharmapuri Taluk, where 
they outnumber the other divisions of Vakkiligas. The name 
Gangadikara, however, is not in general use in the taluk, most 
of the members of the community calling themselves Laddagiri 

1 The finger-giving 7akkiligas are also known as Bandi Vakkiligas. In 
Baramahal Records they are described as Bandi Vcllallu. 

* E.S.M., No. XV, p. 8. Similar legends in endless variety arc given in other 
authorities, e.g., Baramahal Records, III, p. 109, Castes and Tribes, loc. cit., etc. 

3 Mysore Oazetteer, Vol. I, p. 230. 

* E.g., Gummalapuram in HosOr; Bilijanftr and Erappalli in Dharmapari. 

6 They are numerous in Mysore, Hassan and Bangalore Districts of Mysore 



Vakkiligas, and they appear to form a separate cndogamons CHAP. Ill, 
group, distinguished from the Gangadikaras proper by tho fact Sdrvky of 

that their womenfolk are strict vegetarians. They are to be found * 

in the villages of Eoiii-halli, Donnakutta-halli, Ajjampatti, Vakkiligns. 
Banijagara-halli in Pennagaram Division. The significance of 
tho name Laddigiri is not clear.^ 

In addition to the above, a settlement of Musnku Vakkiligas 
exists in Tora-palli Agraharam, ond a community of Dasiri Vakki- 
ligas at Jekkeri, both in Hosur Taluk. Whether these are true 
sub-castes is uncertain. A section known as Anchakara Vakki- 
ligas is said to occur in Kalapambadi, Erra-palli, Adanur and 
other villages south of Pennagaram. 

The Pastoral Castes (64,746) are represented by the Tamil (2) Pastoral 
Idaiyans (21,395), the Telugu Gollas (9,386) and the Kurubas ^^«*«^- 
(33,965), who speak both Telugu and Kanaiese.^ The Idaiyans 
and Gollas tend cattle, tho Kurubas sheep and goats. The Idai- 
yans^ are ^ti-ongest in Attur (7,000), tJttankarai and Krishnagiri ; 
the Gollas in Hosur, Dharmapuri, Omalur and Attur ; the Kuru- 
bas in Hosur (15,000), Dharmapuri (7,300), Krishnagiri (6,800), 
TJttankarai (2,700), very few^ indeed occurring in the Talaghat. 
This distribution of the Pastoral Castes shows clearly that grazing 
is of far greater importance in the Balaghat and Baramahal than 
in the comparatively poorly- wooded Talaghat. 

The Kurubas or Kurumbars as they are sometimes called, Kumbas. 
are classed as IJru-Kurubas and Kadu-Kurubas, or Town Kurubas 
and Country Kurubas.'* Those in Salem District belong to tho 
former group, and most of them speak Kanarese. The tJru-Kuru- 
bas are divided into three clearly defined sub-eastes, (1) Hosa 
(new), also called Halu (milk) or Hatti (cotton) Kurubas, who 
use a marriage kankanam of cotton, (2) the Hale (old), also called 
Kambli (blanket), Unne (wool) or Jadi Kurubas, whose kankanam 

^ The Laddigiri Vakkiligas state that Laddigiri is a village somewhere near 
the Ttingabhadra in Bellary or Kurnool District. Mr. E. S. Lloyd, Collector of 
Kurnool, writes, " there is a sinall and rather insignificant village called 
Laddigiri on the Handri, a tributary of the Tungabhadra. It is about 20 miles 
from the Tungabhadra itself. The nearest railway station is Veldurthi, 8 or 10 
miles off." 

^ The Census figures cannot be relied on, for the Idaiyans show an increase of 
6,624 (nearly 50 per cent) on the figores for 1901, which is impossible, 
especially as the 1901 figures include Tiruppattur and Namakkal, while the 1911 
figures do not. Obviously many Gollas, or Knrubas, or both, must have been 
returned as Idaiyans by Tamil-speaking enumerators. 

^ For a description of the Idaiyans see Madura District Gazetteer, p. 96, Gaatea 
and Tribes, Vol. II, p. 352, and the authorities quoted in Census Report, 1901, 
Part I, p. 155. Among the sub-castes given in Castes and Tribes, both Gollas 
and Kurubas have been included. 

* For the legends of their origin see E.S.M., No. I, Kuruba, pp. 2-3. 




Survey of 


is of white, black and yellow wool, and (3) the Ando Kurubas, 
whose kankanam is of cotton and wool mixed. Males of those 
three groups may iuterdine. The Old Kurubas weave kamblia ; 
the New Kurubas tend sheep; the Ande Kurubas consider them- 
selves superior to both, claim to have been a warrior caste, and call 
themselves Ande-Eavuts. Kurubas formed an important fighting 
element in the armies of Haidar Ali and of the Ankusagiri Poli- 
gars, and several fiefs of military origin still remain in the posses- 
sion of Inaradars of the Ande sub-caste. Their favourite caste 
title is Nayaka. 

All three divisions are split into exogamous clans callod Kulax} 
The following Kuhs are reported in Salem "District; for the 
"New" Kurubas, Deva-kulam, Ari-kulam (according to Mr. 
Nanjundayya, Ari = Bauhintaracemosa), Pisa-kulam, Made-kulam, 
Sangini-kulam, Sanna-kulam, Raja-kulam ; for " Old" Kurubas, 
Pottu-kulam, Basiri-kulam, Gaudi-kulam, Hege-kulam, Arasu- 
kulam, Sangama-kulam, Ala-marattu-kulam. It would seem that 
some of these names are not confined to one sub-caste. A large 
proportion of them are names of plants, and the olan so named 
observe a quasi-totomistic reverence for the plants after which 
they are called. The Sanku-kulam clan of the Ande Kurubas is 
80 named from the Chank shell {Turbinella pyrum), and it is said 
that the members of this clan may not use the Chanks as a feed- 
ing bottle for their babies, a use to which the shell is put through- 
out South India. 

The " Old " Kurubas distinguish themselves as belonging to 
the Ballala-Eayan-Vamsam and the Bijjala-Eayan-Vamsam. 
The " New *' Kurubas are divided into three groups, named after 
three week days, Monday, Thursday, and Sunday Kurubas. Yet 
another distinction exists, which is said to be common to all throo 
sub-castes, namely, the Maduvc-Salu or offspring of regular marri- 
age, the Kndike-Salu or offspring of informal marriage, and the 
Basavi-Salu or offspring of unmarried girls.^ Exogamous clans 
are said to equal in number the grains in four seers of paddy. 

The Guru of the Ande Kurubas is a Lingjlyat, and the men 
of certain clans who exercise priestly functions among them wear 
a lingam round their neck and abstain from flesh and alcohol. 
The Lingayat influence in the caste is, in fact, strong. At the 
same time the Ande and " Old " Kurubas employ Brahman 
purohits at weddings and funerals, but the " New " Kurubas 
content themselves with purohits of their own caste. 

^ Air. H. V. Nanjundayya in E.S.M. gives a list of 111 Kulas. 
2 E.S.M., No. 1, p. 5, 


Males arc not allowed to be tattooed. Among the " New " CHAP. III. 
Kurubas, women wear white cloths, and black cloths are considered Sdrvky of 
inauspicious. " Old " Kuriiba womeu, on the other hand, invari- astes. 
ably wear a black kambli, any other colour being prohibited ; the Kurubas. 
hambli is not thrown over the shoulders, but is tied tightly over 
the breasts and under the armpits, and secured round the waist 
with ii girdle of coir rope, a fold being made in the kambli to 
conceal the existence of the rope. The bodice (ravikkai) is worn 
only by women of the Ande sub-caste, whose cloths may be of 
any colour. After marriage, Kuruba women should wear shoes 
and not walk abroad barefooted. 

The " Old " Kurubas observe a curious custom in their annual 
festival to Bira Devar.^ The images are set in a row in an open 
space and garlanded, and flowers, milk, coco-nuts, etc., are offered 
to them. Such of the worshippers as have vows to perform, 
garlanded and covered with saffron, dance in front of the deities, 
and work themselves up into a state of frenzied excitement, and 
when the climax is reached, the devotees sink to the earth with 
one leg bent under and the other stretched out in front (or 
else simply kneel), while the pUfdii breaks quantities of coco-nuts 
on their heads. The operation looks painful, and some of the 
enthusiastic wince as the blow fallS; but broken skulls are unheard 
of, and the coco-nut is certainly the weaker vessel. No anmial 
sacrifice is offered at this festival. The fragments of broken 
coco-nut belong " by right to those whose skulls have cracked 
them and who value the pieces as sacred morsels of food. For a 
month before this annual ceremony all the people have taken no 
meat, and for three days the fujdri has lived on milk alone. At - 
the feast therefore all indulge in rather immoderate eating, but 
drink no liquor, calling excitedly on their particular Grod to grant 
them a prosperous year," ^ 

The Gollas, the great Telugu caste of cattle graziers, rank high GoUas. 
in the social scale, though, curiously enough, they do not employ 
Brahman purohiis. They sometimes call themselves Yadavas, 
and claim kinship with the Tadava dynasty of Devagiri. One 
section of the caste, known as Bokkasa or Bokkusa Gollas, has 
given up shepherding and taken to guarding treasure as an 
hereditary occupation ; hence the treasury servants who are 
entrusted with lifting, carrying and packing bullion are officially 
known as Gollas, though they do not necessarily belong to the 
Golla caste. Gollas may mess with Nattans, Kaikolars, Vellan 
Chettis and Eavuts, but not with Pallis or Tottiyans. The Salem 

^ Vide Oppeit, op. cit., p. 238. ^ Madras Census Keport, 1891- 




suevet of 


(3) Fisher- 


Gollas trace their origin to Gooty, and a quaint story ,^ is told to 
explain their migration thence. When the Gollas were settled at 
Gooty one of the ruling sovereigns (a Nawah, tradition calls him) 
fell in love with a Golla maid and sought her Land in marriage. 
Eefusal spelt ruin, and the panic-stricken Gollas consented to the 
match. A time and place for the wedding was fixed, and a 
marriage pandal erected. But when, on the wedding day, the 
Nawah arrived at the bride's house, he found the pandal deserted, 
save for a dog dressed up in girl's clothes ; the Gollas had quitted 
his kingdom to a man. 

The caste exhibits an extraordinary variety of sub-divisions, 
the exact correlation of which is far from clear.^ No less than 
eight endogamous groups are reported for Salem District alone, 
namely, (1) Guti (Gooty), (2) Kama (Carnatic), (3) Ttimati, (4) 
Manthai (sheep or cattle-pen), (5) Doddi (hut), (6) Sana, (7) 
Akalu, (8) Mondi. The caste is also said to be sub-divided into 
seven yotras, most of them associated with plant totems, viz., (1) 
Mamanthila-vadu, who revere the mavaliuga tree, (2) Siru-puvalu- 
vadu, worshipping the ncrinji plant, (3) Puchanthila-vadu, a section 
in which black beads and black cloths are forbidden, (4) Vanin- 
thila-vadu, (5) Ariyanthila-vadu, who honour the atti tree, (6) 
Pulavanthila-vadu, who may neither cut nor burn the puldm tree, 
and (7) Bangaru-vadu (gold).-' All the members of the first four 
of these got r as are looked on as ddyddis and arc not allowed to 
intermarry. The same theory holds good for the last three gotras. 
Thus a man belonging to the first batch of gotras must choose his 
bride from the second batch, and vice versa. 

The fishing castes are represented by the Tamil Sembadavans 
(7,393) and Telugu Bestas (735). Probably a few Kanarese 
Toreyas should be included among one or other of these heads, as 
they numbered 1,852 in 1901. About half the Sembadavans occur 
in Tiruchengodu Taluk, the rest being distributed evenly through- 
out the District. The Bestas are confined to Iloeur Taluk.* 

The chief settlement of Sembadavans is at Edappadi, where 
they have to some extent abandoned their ancestral occupation as 

^ A Bimilar story is told of the other castes, e.g., the Morasn Yakkiligas 
(E.S.if., No. XV, p. 3), Beri Cliettis {^Castes and Trihea, Vol. I, p. 213). 

* According to E.S.M., No. XIV, Gollas (exclusive of the Kadu-Gollas) are 
divided into three sub-castes (1) Uru, (2) Ketta Haiti, and (3) Maddina. In 
E.S.M"., No. XX, however, eight other sub-castes are specified. In Baramahal 
Records, III, p. 135, twelve sub-castes are named. 

2 Only the last of these clan names is given in E.S.M., or Castes and Tribes 
and the lists given in those two works are also mutually exclusive. 

* An excellent account of the Bestas is given in E.S-M., No. V ; cf . Castes and 
Tribes, Vol. I, p. 218. 




fresh-water fishermen and boatmen in favour of trade and the CHAP. III. 
manufacture of oastov-oil and puiidk (Vol. II, p. 273). It appears ^'g^g^^^g"^ 
tliat the Sembadavans form a homogeneous community and — ' 

recognise no sub-castes. They are divided into about 96 exoga- Sembada- 
mous clans, called by rather outlandish names, which are said to 
be derived from tribal heroes.^ Caste disputes are settled in the 
first instance by a pancJiaycd nominated by the assembled elders, 
and presided over by an hereditary Kdriyadan. From this 
panchayat an appeal lies to the Pattahkdran and from the Pattah- 
kdran, a second appeal lies to an officer known as Konga-Rayar, 
who lives in Konga-Raya-palaiyam in Kalia-knrchi Taluk. The 
Sembadavans employ Brahman purohits (usually Tamil or Teluga 
Smartas) for the ceremonies connected with marriage, childbirth, 
puberty, house-warming, srddd/ias and the 16th day death 
ceremony, and in the case of Vaishnavites for the mudrd' 
dhdranam, or sealing ceremony, when they are branded in two or 
three places with a metal sanku or chakram. 

The spirits of the dead are propitiated with animal sacrifice. 
The Sembadavans are specially devoted to the cult of Ankal- 
amman, who is said to have been the daughter of a Sembadava 
girl of whom Siva was enamoured. In connection with her 
worship a peculiar ceremony is observed. Once a year the 
worshippers assemble at dead of night in a burning ground ; 
cooked rice, plantains and other offerings are laid on a cloth spread 
on the ground, and sheep, goats, and fowls are sacrificed. 
Ankal-amman is then worshipped, and the cooked food is distri- 
buted among the worshippers. This ceremony, known as 
Maydna-pitja (cemetery puja) is performed to the beating of a 
pambai drum. The pujdri gathers five handfuls of the ashes of 
the burning ground, and mixes them with the sacred ashes of 
Ankal-amman's shrine, the mingled ashes being afterwards distri- 
buted to worshippers. The ashes and the cooked grain distributed 
on these occasions are considered a specific against barrenness.2 

The hunting castes include the Telugu Vedans and the (4) Hunters. 
Kanarese Bedas or Boy as, as well as a few (515) Telugu Patras. 
The Vedaus according to the Census of 1911 number 4,402, of 
whom about 2,400 are in Hosur and 1,200 in Krishoagiri Taluk. 
No Vedans are returned in the Census of 1901. In 1901 there 
were 7,38o Boyas and 4,570 Bedas; in 1911 the Boyas number 

1 E.g. (1) Ulaganathar, (2) Maina-kappiriyan, (3) Anjappuli, (4) Tii-ipuram- 
kali, (5) Vathayi, (6) Alallau, (7) Mazhaventhi , (8) Tikkali, (9) Iralvan, (10) Emi- 
girippiriyan, (11) Suriyappiriyan, (12) FoiinatfcumannaD. 

* For a description of a similar, but mucii more elaborate, ceremony at Mala- 
yanur (Tindivanam Taluk, Sonth. Arcot) see Gaste.s and Tribes, Vol. VI, p. 35H. 





Survey of 

Vedars and 

(5) Traders, 

8,077 and the Bedas nil. Apparently there has been some con- 
fusion between the Bedas and Vedans, and also between the Beda 
Bovas and the Odda Boy as (see s.v. Odde, p. 187).^ 

Botb Vedars and Bedas come of the same stock and trace 
their descent to Valmiki, who is identified with the author of the 
Ramajana, Valmiki, it is said, was the illegitimate son of a 
Brahman bj a Vedar woman and adopted the profession of high- 
wayman. One day Eama 2 appeared to the bandit, convinced him 
of the sinfulness of his life, and converted him to probity. The 
reformed robber had twelve sons, who wore the ancestors of both 
Vedars and Bedas. Another eponymous hero, who figures promi- 
nently in Vedar tradition and custom, is one Kannayya or 
Kannappa, who is identified by some with one Kannappa Nayanar, 
one of the sixty-three Saivite saints, a trnditioa which seems to 
connect them with the Ambalakarans and Valaiyans of Tanjorc 
and Trichinopoly.^ 

Both Vedars and Bedas were originally fighting castes, who 
spread southwards with the armies of Vijayanagar. On the down- 
fall of Vijayanagar many of their chieftains ostabli.'shed themselves 
as independent Poligars ; in fact the Vedar dynasty of the 
Kangundi Zamindars still preserves a shadow of authority over 
the Vedars of the eastern Baiaghat and Baramahal, as well as on 
the Javadi hills of Tiruppattur. Bedas formed the pick of 
Haidar Ali's army, and several families of these cousin-castes still 
enjoy Umbilikkai maniyams (see Vol. II, p. 54) granted to them 
by former Poligars as guardians of the Ghats.* 

The most important trading castes are the Balijas, who num- 
ber 47,270, and include many communities that would more cor- 
rectly be described as agricultural or military ; and the Cliettis, who 
number 33,636. The word " Chetti " ^ is used as a general terra 
for trader, and covers a multitude of castes. In a more limited 
sense the term is applied to a group of sub-castes which all claim 
to be Vaisyas. Of these the most important are the Komati Vais- 
yas and next to them is the caste group of the Nagarattu Cbettis. 
Of the non-Vaisya merchants who call themselves Chettis the 

1 In 1901 Bdyaa -\- Bedas — 12,138 -, In 19] I BOyas -f- Vsdans = 12,4.79. 
The title BOyi is used by Oddes, and Bestas, ns vvell as by a Telugu caste of 

* Or the sage Vasishta {E.S.M., No. Ill, p. 1) or the seven Riahis (Castes and 
Tribes, Vol. I, p. 189), for there is, as usual, an infinite variety in the 
details of the legend. 

3 See Castes and Tribes, Vol. VII, p. 332, and E.S.M., No. Ill, p. 2- of. Trichi- 
nopoly District Gazetteer, pp. 105 and 114. 

* E.g., Krishnappa-Nayani-Podur and Batimadagu in Eerikai Palaiyam, ar.d 
Ankusagiri-Kotttlr in Bulagiri. 

6 " Chetti " 12,511, " Komati " 11,615, " Janappan " 9,510 ; total 33,636. 



most important a o the Janappars. The Nattu-k5ttai Chettis of CHAP. Til. 
Deva-kottai are very rare in Salem District.^ Other castes Suevky of 
which adopt the term " Chetti '* are tho Vaniyars (oil-pressors) a^tes. 
who appear to bear some affinity to theNagarattu Chettis (p. 183), Traders, 
the Slifinars (toddy drawers), the Devaiigas (weavers), the Linga.- 
yats, the Oddars of Attur (Odda-Chetti), the Potters of Pennaga- 
ram Division (Kosa -Chetti) and the Senaikkadaiyans. Desayi 
Chetti is the title of the Balija who presides over the '' Eighteen " 
Eight- Hand Castes. 

The Komatis trace their origin to Ayodhya ; 714 families, it is Komafcis 
said, migrated to Penukonda, where a king called Vishnu- Vardhana 
fell in love with a beautiful girl of the caste named Vasavamba. 
The Kdmatis dare not refuse V'ishnu-Vardhana's proffer of 
marriage but on the appointed day the maid, her parents and a 
married couple from each of 102 families immolated themselves 
on a funeral pyre. These 102 families are identified as the gotra^ 
groups into which the Komatis are now divided, tho remaining 612 
formiug the Nagarattu Chettis and allied castes. Personal beauty 
having thus proved the bane of the caste, Providence ordained 
thenceforth that no Komati girl should be beautiful. Vasavamba 
is now worshipped as the tutelary goddess of the caste, under the 
name Kanyaka-paramesvari, and is regarded as an incarnation of 
Parvati,-^ The K5matis rank high in the social scale, and stre- 
nuously live up to their claim to be true Vaisyas. It is curious, 
however, that, though their right to wear the sacred thread is 
undisputed, very few castes will accept water at their hands or 
take food in their houses.* In some mysterious way they are 
connected with the Madigas, and are sometimes called " Midday 
Madigas." * Their caste panchdyats are of the Telugu type, 
presided over by a Chetti and a Yejamdn. Appeals lie to 
Brahman Gurus, entitled Bhaskaracharyas, of whom there are 
several families, each with its own territorial jurisdiction. Some 
Komatis. are Saivites and some Vaishnavites, but sect is no bar to 
intermarriage. In their customs, though the Vedic ritual is not 

1 For a description of these famous sowkars, see Madura District Qazetteer, 
p. 99. 

^ One of the families is said to have become extinct at the great holocaust, the 
last surviving pair having perished on the pyre. A list of the 101 gotra groups 
is given on pp. 32 to 11, £.5.Af.,No. VI. Each group has its appropriate Kishi 
on the analogy of Brahmanic gotras, but several of these groups contain more 
than one exogamous clan and each gdtra bears the name of a tree, planter 
grain the use of which is tabooed by the members of the gotra. 

3 There are several variants of the story, see JE.S.M., No. VI, p. 4. 

* According to ES.M., No. VI, only ESdas, Madigas and Korachas will eat in 
a Komati house. 

* See Castes and Tribes, Vol. Ill, pp. 325 sq. 




Survey of 



employed, they closely follow the Br.ahmanic model, while 
they observe ia addition a multitude of Dravidian rites. 
Flesh-eating, adult marriage, widow re-marriage, divorce, etc., are 
rigorously eschewed, and annual srdddhas are observed, as well as 
monthly ceremonies during the first year of mourning. Exchange 
of daughters in marriage between two families is prohibited,^ and. 
menarlkam is enforced with a strictness that is proverbial. ^ 

The Nagarattu Chettis, like the Komatis, claim to have 
migrated from the anciont City of Ayodhya (Oudh),^ and they are 
said to be descended from the 612 families of Penukonda who did 
not join with the 102 Komati families in Vasavamba's immolation. 
Nagarattus are strict vegetarians and wear the sacred thread. 
Some of them are Saivites, and some are Vaishnavas. They are 
divided * into Tamil, Telugu and Kanarese sections, and difference 
of language is a bar to intermarriage. 

The term ** Nagarattu " is applied to most of the non-Komati 
Chettis of Hosur and Krisbnagiri Taluks ;* it also occurs in Saloni, 
Omaltlr, Tiruchengodu and Attiir. The Nagarattu Chottis of 
Hostir are said to speak Kanarese, but elsewhere Tamil is their 
predominant house language. The term Beri Chetti, according 
to the Baramnhal Records, is applied to the Telugu section of the 
Nagarattu Chettis, but in Krisbnagiri and Dharmapuri Taluks, 
where they occur, they are reported to speak Tamil. ^ A section 
known as Neikara Chettis (ghee men) ^ is numerous in Tiruchengodu, 
and occurs also in Salem and Omaltir (Aranganur) ; they speak 
Tamil and are described as a division of the Nagarattu Chettis 

* " There should be no turning back of the creeper " as they say ; that is, when 
a girl has married into a family, the latter cannot give a girl in marria>ife tu that 
girl's family ever afterwards (JE.S.Af., No. VI, p. 8). 

* Komati'Menarlkam is " a proverbial expression to denote a relation that 
cannot be escaped or evaded " {E.8.M., loo. cit.). 

' Hence their name Nagarattu, men of the city (AyOdhya-Nagaram). 

* The following sub-divisions are reported : (1) Sivaohar Nagarattus, (2) 
Emmaladu Nagarattus, (3) Bfiri Nagarattus, (4) Namadhari Nngarattus, (5) Ktl- 
gfOr NasarattuB. The Sivtiohar and Emmaladu .Vagarattas wear the lingam, 
the other three divisions are Vaishnavas. 

* Their chief settlements are at HosOr, Bagalur, Kiishnagin and Kav6ri- 

* The exact relationship between the B6ri Chettis and the Nagarattu Chettis 
is not clear. The B6ri Chettis are said to be distinct from tlie B6rl Nagarattus 
referred to in footnote 4, though in the Tamil districts Bfiri Nagarattus are 
commonly called B6ri Chettis. Most BCri Chettis profess to be vegetarians, but 
the rule is not everywhere observed. In Trichinopoly, Taujore, and Pudu-kOttai 
they speak Tamil, in Chittoor and Aroot, Telugu. Three divisions are reported 
(o) 8ama>»purattar, (J) Molagu-mari, (o) Maman-tilli-katti, tlie last named 
taking their name from a custom th;it requires a girl's maternal (mdman) uncle 
to tie a prenuptial tali (cf. the tdli Icettu-kalydnam of Malabar, Malabar District 
QazetUer, \\ 173). 

' Cf. the Neti Komatis of Shimoga, E.8.M., No. VI, p. 5. 



who trade in ghee. Certain Neikara Chottis of Hostir Taluk, CHAP. III. 
however, speak Kanarese. Silakara Chettis (cloth-men) are Survey op 


found in Hosur, Dhannapuri and Attur.^ In Hostir thej * 

speak Kanarese, in Dharmapnri Tclugu, in Attiir Tamil. Beri Cliettis. 
Nulkara Chettis (threadmen), otherwise called Vellau Chettis, 
ooour in Dharmapuri and in all the Talaghat Taluks.^ They 
are described as Nagarattu Chettis who sell twist (nul). In. 
Salem they call themselves Bhu-Vaisyas. They are said to wear 
no punul. Pattars are reported to be a sub-caste of the Vellan 
Chettis who wear a Ungam on the neok or on the right arm, S51iya 
Chettis are common in Tiruchengodu, and also occur iu the other 
Talaghat Taluks,^ and in Dharmapuri, Acharapakkam and 
Tovaram-katti Chettis are found in Tirucbengddu Taluk, but are 
not common ; the former take their name from their chief settle- 
ments at Acharapakkam in Madurantakam Taluk, Chingleput 
District. Kasukkara Chettis (coin-men) are common in Dharma- 
puri, and are also found in Attur, Tiruchengodu and Salem ; 
they are described as Nagarattu Chettis who exchange coins. In 
Salem Taluk there are a few so-called Pannirendam (twelfth) 
Chettis, who devote one-twelfth of their income to the god of 
Katnagiri, Kulittalai Taluk, Trichinopoly District.* 

Most, if not all, of the communities above enumerated appear 
to belong to the Nagarattu caste-group, and there is reason to 
believe that they are true sub- castes, based on territorial or occupa- 
tional distinctions. Most of them acknowledge the supremacy of a 
Gruru entitled Dharma-Sivachar, residing at Nerinjipet in Bhavani 
Taluk, Coimbatore District, and many of them call themsehes 
Dharma-Sivachar Vaisyas. 

The Janappars (9,510) are most numerous in the three Bara- janappars. 
mahal Taluks of Dharmapuri (3,489), Krishnagiri (2,529), and 
Uttaukarai (1,998) ; thereare a few in Hosur, Salem and Omalur, 
but they do not occur in Attur or Tiruchengodu. Hariir is their 
chief settlement. They acknowledge Ayyangar Gurus at Tora- 
palli (Hosur), Raya-kota and Ketanda-patti (near Vaniyambadi), 
Their name is said to be derived from the word janappu (= hemp) 
the cultivation of hemp and its conversion into gunny bags being 
the hereditary occupation of their forefathers. Some members 
of the caste, living near Kari-mangalam and in Kondayana-halli 
near Solappadi, still follow the ancestral industry, but most of 

^ Kela-mangalam, Tali, Dharmapuri, Adamau-kottai, Pudupet. 

* E.g., Pedda-Nayakkan-palaiyam, Aiiai> ampatti, Kondayauipalli, Nadu- 
valur, all in Attur Taluk, Konagapadi in Omalur, and in the vicinity of 

* Kouganapuram, Aianganur and Pottan6ri. 

* Trichinopoly District Qazetieer, p. 282. 







the caste have abandoned it in favour of trade and money-lending. 
These now call themselves Teluugas, Telugu being their house 
language. The cattle trade of the District is almost entirely in 
their hands ( v. p. 280 ). Their customs follow the Telugu 
type. They worship Parvati under the name of Durga, and 
Ankal-ammau is regarded as a special patroness of the caste. 
They are divided into 24 clans. 

The Balijas represent the Telugu military and trading 
element in the District, being evenly distributed throughout the 
Talaghat and Baramahal, and totalling over 10,000 in Ilosur 
Taluk. In the Tamil country they arc usually called Kavarais 
or Vadugars (Northerners). They are popularly classed as (A)^ 
Kota Balijas, who are military in origin and claim kinship with 
the Emperors and Viceroys of Vijayanagar and the Kandyau 
Dynasty, and (B) Peta Balijas, who arc traders. Their caste 
title is Nayudu or, as it is more familiarly spelt, Naidu. Many 
of them are prosperous merchants and landowner?, others attain 
distinction in the higher ranks of Government service ; they 
provide the Army, the Police and the peons establishments of 
Government Ofhces with some of their best recruits. Their 
largest settlements occur in towns and villages such as Saukari- 
drug, Salem, Attur and Perumbalai, that were held by garrisons 
under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagar or Madura Dynasties. 

Sub-castes among the Balijas are not easily demarcated. As 
befits an immigrant and widely scattered race that prides itself in 
the purity of the blood, the general law of endogamy is narrowed 
down to the condition precedent to all marriage contracts, that 
between the contracting families the existence of a previous 
matrimonial alliance must be proved, this rule being of course 
subject to the exogamous principle that the house-names {inti- 
perlu) of bride and bridegroom must differ. Thus the circle 
within which a man may chcose his bride is limited, within the 
sub-caste, to families that bear house names which have previously 
been connected by marriage with his own. 

Most of the Balijas of Salem District are of the Gajulu section 
of the Peta Balijas. The only other section of importance is 
that of the Musuku Balijas, who occur in every taluk, but are 
not numerous, except in Krishna giri Taluk and Pennagaram 
Division. The Eavuts, a section of Balijas descended from 
sowars who served under the petty Rajas of the 17th Century, 
are found in Shevapet, Omaltir, Tiruchengodu and Sankaridrug. 

^ According to some authorities (e.g., Mr. Francis, Census Report, 1901) 
the word Desa is applied to the Kota Balijas ; according to other authorities it 
is applicable to Peta Balijas onlj'. Desa meaning " Mofassil." 


All these three sections appear to be true sub-castea ; thoy inter- CHAP. Hi. 
dine, but may not intermarry, and all acknowledge a Vaishnavite ^"f^^3 °' 

Brahman Guru at Tirukkoyilur ^ in South Arcot. Of the other 1 ' 

sections known in the District the Sukamanehi Balijas are said Balijas 
to occur rarely in Krishnagiri, and two sections known as 
Eluttukkarar and Oppanakkarar are reported from Omalur. All 
these are true Balijas, and each section is said to be endogamous. 
Piigadala (coral) Balijas occur rarely in the Talaghat ; accounts 
vary as to whether they form a true sub-caste, or whether 
Pagadala is merely a " house-name" ; in Attur they are called 
Kammas. Two obscure sections in Hosur Taluk, known as 
Vengaya Vadugar and Puliyambu Yadugar, are said to abstain, 
from the flesh of goats, though they are allowed to eat sheep. 
The terms Ealla (gem-stones), Pusa (beads), Perike (salt) and 
Tota (garden) sometimes applied to Balijas are reported to be mere 
occupational terms which do not indicate true sub-castes. The 
Golla Balijas are probably Gollas (q.v.) who call themselves Naidus; 
the Kamma Balijas are perhaps to be identified with the Kammas 
(q. V. p. 166), and Linga Balija or Sivachar Kavarai appears to be 
a popular term for Kanarese Lingayats. The Musuku Balijas 
are so called because their women cover their heads when they 
leave their homes (musuku = veil). Their customs resemble 
closely those of the Gajuln Balijas. 

. The customs of the Balijas vary in difOerent places. They 
employ Brahman puroht'ts, and formerly recognised the authority 
of the Desayi Chetti, who was of Balija caste, but their caste 
polity has suffered disintegration.^ Their marriage customs are 
of the Telugu type. 

The Industrial castes may conveniently be grouped as (i) (6) ludustrial 
Weavers (89,871 ),(ii) Oil-pressers (15,825), (iii) Toddy-drawers ^«'«*^«' 
(45,282), (iv) Potters (13,384), (v) Salt- Workers (4,210), (vi) 
Mat-makers (3,204), and (vii) Artizans (32,688). 

Of the Industrial castes, the Weavers are by far the most (i) Weavers, 
important. The strongest numerically are (1 ) the Tamil Kaikol- 
ars (41,291). Next to them come (2) the Devangas or Jedars 
(32,497), who include both Telugu and Kanarese sections, though 
unfortunately in the Census Eeturns they are only shown under 
one head. The Telugu (3) Sales (6.516), and (4) Togatas, (1,144), 
are also represented, and lastly (5) the Patnul-karans (8,423), 

^ Other mcdams honoured by the Balijas are at Stixjerumbudur, Srlvilli. 
pattur, Srirangam, Pulaveri and Tiruvalltir. 

2 E.g., accounts differ widely as to the duration of pollution on attainment 
of puberty, childbirth, etc. 








or Silk- Weavers, of Salem form an important community. Several 
other castes earn a living bj weaving, notabl}'' the Kanarese 
Panchamas known as Maggas (see below, p. 203), but separate 
statistics for these are not available- 
Most of the Kaikolars reside in the Talaghat (Salem 15,205, 
TiruchengSdu 10,981, Omalur 4,682, Attur 3,444), but there are a 
few thousands in the Baramahal also. A.ccording to their own 
account they are immigrants from Conjeoveram, which city is 
still the hoad-quarters of their caste. 

They claim to be descended from the Nine Heroes (Nava-Vira) 
created by the God Siva to help Subrahmanya to purge the earth 
of certain demons whose leader was called Padmasura. The 
legend is as follows : — " The people of the earth, being harassed 
by certain demons, applied to Siva for help. Siva was enraged 
against the giants, and sent forth six sparks of fire from his eyes 
His wife, Parvati, was frightened, and retired to her chamber, 
and, in so doing, dropped nine beads from her anklets. Siva 
converted the beads into as many females. These nine maidens 
fell in love with Siva, and out of mere love they became pregnant. 
Parvati in jealousy cursed them that they might not be delivered. 
The pain-stricken maidens begged Siva to intercede, which ho 
did, and Parvati relieved them of the curse, and they were 
delivered of nine sons, each of whom was born with full grown 
moustaches and a dagger. These nine heroes, with Subrahmanya 
at their head, marched in command of a large force, and destroyed 
the demons. The Kaikdlars, or Sengundar, are said to bo the 
descendants of Virabahu,^ one of tliese heroes. After killing the 
demon the warriors were told by Siva that they should become 
musicians, and adopt a profession, which would not involve the 
destruction or injury of any living creature, and, weaving being 
such a profession, they were trained in it.'* " 

The Kaikolars are said to be divided into nine sub-castes, but 
a complete list of these sub-castes is not forthcoming. I'he Salem 
Kaikolars belong to the Konga section. Like the Vellalars, the 
Kaikolars recognise a distinction between Perun-tali and Siru-tali, 
and the Konga Kaikdlars belong to the Perun-tali section. The 
Kaikolar caste is divided into 72 Nads, of which the Konga 
Kaikolars of Salem District recognise seven, viz., (1) Kanchi, 
(2) Puvani, (3) Eltir, (4) Araiya, (5) Vanni, (6) Pundurai, 

' Vlrabahu is also said to be a progenitor of the Pariahs, 

" Census Reporif, Madias, 1891. The word " Sengumiar, " (men of tiie red 
dagger), is said to refer to the dagger cdrried by iSabrahmanya, and the word 
Kai-Kol is explained in the same way, though a more natural philology Would 
derive it from kai = hand, and kol == shuttle. 



(7) Salem. The administrative divisions, it will be noted, bear a OHAP. Ill, 
close analog}' to those of the Nattans, Pallans and Konga Vellalars ^ Survey ok 

The premier Nad is that of Kanchi (Conjeoveram), "where the ^ ' 

Mahdndttdn resides. The Ptivani Nad (of which Tara-mangalam KaikolarB, 
is the head-quarters) exercises a sort of appellate jurisdiction over 
the other five. Caste disputes are settled by a committee composed 
of (I) a Periya-tanakkdran, (2) a Ndttdmnaikkdran, (3) twelve 
Kdriyakkdnins, and (4) a Sangudi. The first two oihces are here- 
ditary, the others elective for life tenure. Meetings are convened 
by the Saiujudi. The Periya-tanakkdran of Mallur is the highest 
authority of the Kongu Nads in the District.^ Kaikolars adopt 
the caste title Mudali. 

Kaikolars employ Brahman purohiU for purification after 
childbirth and death, but not on attainment of puberty. Most 
Kaik5lars are Saivites, Subrahmanya under the name of Muttu- 
kumara-swami being the particular patron of the caste, as half- 
brother and comrade of the caste ancestor Virabahu. At Aragalnr 
(see Vol. II, p. 295) the cult of Ambairaraman is specially associ- 
ated with the caste. 

The Devangas (commonly called Jedars) are most numerous in Devangas, 
Salem Taluk, where their number exceeds 17,000. In Tiruchen- 
godu there are 5,7-32, in Omaltlr 4,523 and in Dharmapuri 2,128, 
but elsewhere they are comparatively rare. Their legendary ^ 
ancsetor is Devalan or Devangam (*' body of god ''), who was 
created by Siva at the request of the Devas, and who overthrew five 
Asuras with the help of the Goddess Chaudesvari (Chamundi), 
the patron deity of the caste. The blood of the five Asuras was 
coloured respectively yellow, red, white, green and black, and 
Devalan used their blood for dyeing thread. 

The Devangas of Salem District say they migrated from 
Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, where the spiritual 
head of the caste still resides ; and their first settlement was 
Amarakundi, the capital of the Gatti Mudaliyars, and the present 
head-quarters of their headman, to wliora all appeals against 
decisions of local panchdyats are referred. They are divided into 
two main groups, one speaking Telugu, and the other speaking a 
corrupt form of Kanarese, These two groups may not intermarry 
and appear to be true sub-castes.* Their clans are exceedingly 

1 See pp. 144 and 189. 

* For further details regarding caste organisation, see Castes and Tribes, 
Vol. Ill, p. 35. 

^ For the legend see Castes and Tribes, Vol. II, p. 155 ; Baramahal Records 
Section III, p. 179. 

* The Devangas of Salem, how ever, will not intermarry with their fellow caste- 
men in Omalur, Bhavani or Elampillai (west of Kanja-malai). 








(ii) Oil- 


numerous.^ For the settlement of caste disputes they are divided 
into groups known as pangalains, presided over by a Chctti{Settik- 
kdran), who is assisted by one or more deputies called Pettan. 
The Devangas employ Brahman purohiis, and have adopted many 
Brahmanic cnstoms, especially in connection with marriage. 

Of the 6,500 odd Sales ^, nearly three-fourths occur in Salem 
Taluk, the rest being scattered throughout the District. Most of 
the Salem Sales are Padma-Sales. They trace their descent to 
Bhavani Eishi, who is worshipped as their patron deity, and who 
was created by the Eishi Markanda from a ball of fire. Their 
customs bear a close resemblance to those of the Devangas. 

The silk -weavers popularly known as Patnulkarans are 
immigrants from Gujarat, and call themselves Sauroshtra Brah- 
mans. The community is virtually confined to Salem City. 
Their fair reddish complexion, unlike anything Dravidian, stamps 
them as northerners. Consistently with their Brahmanic traditions 
they wear the pUml, and their women-folk carry tlieir water- 
vessels on the hip, and never on the head.^ 

Tamil oil-pressers are known as Vaniyars, Telugu oil-prcssers 
as Gandlas, and Kanarese oil-presscrs as Ganigas. The Vani- 
yars (13,689) are distributed throughout the District, but are 
markedly stronger in the Baramahal taluks than elsewhere. The 
Gandlas (2,138) are confined mostly to Hosfir and Dharmapuri 
Taluks. No Ganigas have been shown in the Census figures for 
1911, but it is probable that they have been included among the 
Vaniyars and Gandlas, as there were 256 Ganigas returned in the 
previous Census. 

The Tamil Vaniyars of Salem District belong entirely to the 
Irandu-mattu, or Irattai-ohekkan, seotioQ, so-called because they 

* According to the local account there are 700 exogamoaa clans. See list in 
Castes and Tribes, Vol. II, p. 161. 

* According to E.S.M., No. X, p. 2, there are three Bub-castes of Sales— (I) 
Padma-Sales who speak Telugu, (2) Pattu-Siilcs who speak Kanarese, and use 
silk in weaving, (3) Sakuna-Sales, who are later immigrants ; all three sub-castes 
trace their origin to the Rishi Markanda. According to Castes and Iribes, Vol. 
VI, p. 267, " Sukan " and " Snka " Sales speak Marathi. Dr. Thurston gives a 
separate account of Kama- Sales {Casten and lYihes, Vol. Ill, p. 252), who differ 
from Padma-Sales in not observing wpanayanam, the mock pilgrimage to Bena- 
res, and pot-searchinst at weddings, and in using 12 pots (the Padma-Sales use 
16). Two sections of Siiles are referred to in Baramahal Records, Section III, 
pp. 174 and 185, viz., U) Padma Sales and (2) Pedda-Sales, whose customs are 
almost identical. 

The legend is variouslj given in Castes and Tribes, Vol. VI, p. 267, E.S.M., 
No. X, p. I, Baramahal Records, Section III, p. 174, etc. 

8 For their industrial methods see p. 266 j further details connected with 
the caste will be found in Madura District Gazetteer, p. 109 sq., and in Castes 
and Trihes, Vol. VI, p. 160. 



yoko two Lullocks to their mill. They are a leading caste of the CHAP. III. 
Left Hand Faction. In common with the Bori Chettis, with Survey of 

whom they appear to have some connection, they reverence as " 

Gurus Dharma Sivaoharya of Nerinjipet in Bhavani Taluk and Vaniyars. 
Gnaua-Sivacharya of MuUandram in Arni Jaghir. Unlike some 
Beri Chettis, however, they do not abstain from flesh. Like the 
Komatis they are regarded with aversion by other castes, and to 
meet a Vaniyan is believed to bring bad luck. They claim to be 
Vaisyas, and wear the sacred thread. They employ Brahman 
purohtts, practise infant marriage, prohibit re-marriage of widows, 
and usually burn their dead. They call themselves Jyoti-Naga- 
rattdrs (people of the city of light) and their caste title is Chetti, 
They are an enterprising community, and many of them, notably 
in Dharmapuri, have abandoned their ancestral occupation in 
favour of trade and money-lending, and have achieved great 

The Telugu Gandlas are almost entirely of the Outi-erudu, Gandlas. 
or Ottai-ohekkan, section using only one bull to a mill. In con- 
trast to the Tamil " two bull " Vaniyars, they are attached to 
the Eight Hand Eaction. Generally they are less wealthy and 
less enterprising than the Vaniyars, but in a few localities, such 
as Kari- mangalam and Buddi-Eeddi-patti, they have taken to 
trade with success. They claim to be superior to the Vaniyars,^ 
and will not dine with them. 

The Todd 7 Drawers include (1) the Tamil Shanars (42,695) 
and (2) the "Telugu Idigas^ (2,385) and (3) Gamallas (202). 
The Shanars are widely distributed througliout both the Talaghat 
and the Baramahal, but three-fourths of their total number are 
to be found in the two Taluks of Tirucheng5du (nearly 20,000) 
and Salem (over 10,000). Idigas are confined to Hosur, Krishna- 
giri and Dharmapuri Taluks, and Gamallas to Hosur. 

The Salem Shanars (called also Marameris, or Tree Clim- 
bers) are divided into two endogamous groups, the Konga-Shanars 
being descended from the first wife, and the Kalyana-Shanars ' 
from the second wife of a certain Muppan whose name is lost. 

(iii) Toddy 


* They also occur at Belur, Ettappur, and Narasingapuratn in Attur and 
at Kumaraswami-patti, in Salem Municipal limits. 

* For an exhaustive account of the Idigas, see E.S.M., No. XVITl. 

' Konga Shanars are to be found in I'i-mara-patti, and Pananguttur, a hamlet 
of Malla-samudram ; Katti-palaiyam, a hamlet of Mamundi ; Kattampalaiyam 
and Timmi-palaiyam, hamlets of Karnmanur j Kalyftna Shanars occur in Ktlttam- 
palaiyam ; Sembam-palaiyam, also a hamlet of Karumantlr ; Palamedu, a Mitta 
village south of Malla-samudram ; Kalyani and Pala-palaiyam in Easipuram 
Firka, and Kachi-palli in Sankari Firka. 





(iv) Potters. 

OHAP. III. Each of these groups is divided into six territorial Karais ^ which 
are mutually exogamous, like the divisions of the Nattans and 
Pallans (pp. 144 and 189). Caste disputes are settled iu panchayat, 
against whose decision there is no provision for appeal ; the 
authority of the panchayat is waning, and the maximura penalty 
they can inflict is said to be Es. 2. 

Tamil Potters are known as Kusavaus, Telugu Potters as 
Kummaraa, and Kanarese Potters * as Kumbaras. The Ivusavans 
number 12,775, and are distributed fairly evenly throughout the 
District. The Kummaras (609) are confined to Hosur Taluk. 
The Kumbaras, like the Ganigas, are ignored in the Census of 
1911, but are probably included in one or both of the other classes 
as 452 were returned for the District in 1901. Kusavans and 
Kumbaras do not intermarry or " interdine. " 

The Potters are an essential element in every village commu- 
nity ; they are the traditional bone-setters of the village, they 
often officiate as priests to the village deities, and in connection 
■with marriage ceremonies they have important duties to perform. 
Yet little is known ot* their customs and social organisation, which 
afford a promising field for future investigation. They belong to 
the liight Hand Faction and employ their own purOhiis. It is 
said they put on the sacred thread on marriage occasions. 

The Salt workers inchide the Tamil Uppiliyans (3,927) and 
the Telugu Upparas (283).=* Most of the former arc to be fonud 
in the Taluks of Tiruehengodu and J^alem, of the latter in Hostir. 

The Uppiliyans of Salem District claim to be immigrants 
from a hill called Kappiyangiri or Kappangiri in "the north." 
" They were created by Siva from drops of sweat that fell from 
his forehead." * Their title is Nayakkar. Nine clans are reported, 
(1) Siru-kulingiyan, (2) Pudampalliyan, (3) Idaiyattan, (4) Todi- 
yattan, (5) Nangavarattan, (6) Parutti-palli Periya-vittukkaran, 

(v) Salt, 


^ (1) l^ldr, (2) KarumanOr, a Mitta village south of Malla-samudrani, (3) 
Maraparai, a Mitta village south of Karuiignl-patti, (4) Puudurai, (5) Milra- 
mangalaui (Omalur Taluk) and (6) Murungavelani. The villages of A\a\- 
Pandurai and Tuyyam-PQuduiui in Erode Taluk still contain large settlements 
of Shanars. 

* For Potters see Census Report^ 1891, ptiras. 502, 603 , North Arcot Manual I, 
p. 231 ; South Canara Manual I, p. 1G8 ; Madura District Gazetteer, \>. 101 ; ]5ucha- 
nan's Mysore, I, pp. 191-312 , Ca8<e« and Tribes, Vol. IV, sub voo. Kusavsn, 
Kummara, Kumbara. 

'Uppara is the Telugu form and Uppara the Kanarese form. Writing of 
the Uppiliyans of Trichinopoly District, Mr. Hemingway Btates that they are 
divided into three sub-castes by language (1) the Kongae, ^2) tho Kavarais, 
(3) the Kannadiyas. (^Trichinopoly District Gazetteer, pp. 115-7.) 

*For other traditions of origin, see Castes and Tribes, Vol. VII, p. 230. 



Survey of 


<,vi) Mat 



(7) Vijayamaug^alam Pcriya-vlttnkkaran, (8) Punduraiyan, CHAP. Ill 
(9) Pala-to/h.uvau.^ The first three of those clans cannot inter- 
marry among themselves, the fourth and fifth likewise form a ddyddi 
group, and also the sixth and seventh. Ths last two, however, 
can intermarry with any of the other groups.'^ The panchdyai is 
presided over by a Pattakkdran^ assisted by a Tottiyathan. Both 
ofiices are hereditary, and the Pattohkarans belong either to the 
Sirn-kulinjiyan, Punduraiyan or Parutti-palli clan. An appeal 
lies to a Pattanam Ohetti, who resides at Paramati, and who is not 
an Uppiliyan by caste. 

The mat-making Medaras, or Vedakkarans as they are 
called among the Tamils, according to the Census of 1911 
numbered only 204 and are confined to the Taluks of Hosur and 
Dharmapuri. There is, however, a large mat-making community 
in Salem City, and it is possible that they were returned as 
Vedakkarans, and that this name, in the course of tabulating, got 
confused with that of some other caste. Their ancestral occu- 
pation is the working of bamboo into mats, baskets, sieves, 
cradles, fans, boxes, umbrellas, etc.'^ They are usually returned as 
a Telugu-speaking caste, but some of those in Salem speak Tamil, 
and in the Mysore country there is an important Kanarese 
community. Language, as usual, is a bar to intermarriage.^ 
The Salem Medaras call themselves " Chetti." The Telugus are 
mostly Vaishnavas, and the Tamils are Saivites. A large number 
of clans are reported,^ those of Salem including (1) Kanikaram, 
(2) Tamminena, (3) Potala, (4) Ure, (5) Vasam, (6) Ekkam, 
(7) Tama, (8) Mettuku, (9) Panthakotta, (10) Kangayam, 
(11) Kanjam, (12) Kone. Caste disputes are settled by a 
panchdyai presided over by a Pcriya-Cheiti and a Chmna-ChetW, 
whose ofiices are hereditary, and who should be related to each 

^ Cf. the list of six pattams given in Trichinopoly District Gazetteer, page 115, 
which includes the names Sirukkalinji, Pudambili, and Pnndarai. The ortho- 
graphy of sach traditional caste names is always rather vague. 

^ Uppiliyans are also distinguished as (1) Mezhugu-Bottu, who wear an ordinary 
bottv, (tali) and (2) Lakshmi-Botlu, \^ ho w ear & bottu yvith. a fittnre of Lakshmi 
on it. Each of these two divisions is endogamous. According to the Trichino- 
poly District Gazetteer (p. 117), the Tamils and Kanarese wear the Lakshmi hottu 
and the Telngus the ordinary hottu. 

3 The Koravas (see below p. 196) also work in bamboo; unlike the Medaras, 
however, they manufacture mats of date leaves. Medaras split the bamboo 
from the top, or thin end, downwards, Koravas split it from the thick end 
upwards {E.S,M., No. XIX). 

* Three sub-castes are recorded in E.8.M., No. XIX, viz., (1) Gavarigas, 
(2) Palli-Medars, (3) Bandikara-Medars. 

* See the list in Castes and Tribes, Vol. Y, page 54, which is utterly different 
from the Salem list. Cf. also E.S.M., No. XIX, p. 2. 



Survey of 

(vii) Arti- 

CHAP. III. other as mdman and mac/idn, i.e., one is the uncle of tho other. 
The panchdyat is made up of a senior memhcr from each house- 
hold. They employ Brahman puro/n'ts, tho purohit of the Salem 
Medaras being a Vadagalai Tamil Vaishiiava. 

The Artizana comprise the Tamil Kammalars (30,251), tho 
Telugu Kamsalas (2,437) and the Kauarcse Fanchalas. The 
latter, like the Giiuigas and Kumbaras, are ignored in the Census 
of 1911, thoiigh they numbered 1,181 in the previous Census. 
Probably they have been enumerated among the Kanminlars or 
Kamsalas. The Kammalars are distributed throughout the 
District, and are most numerous in Salem and Tiruchengdda 
Taluks. The Kamsalas are confined to Hosur. 

The Artizans are leaders of the Loft Hand Faction, and 
repudiate the superiority of Brahmans, whom they regard as 
inferiors and call Go-Brahmans (cow-Brahmans). They maintain 
that they themselves are the only true Brahmans, and are 
desoeaded from Visvakarma, the architect of the Gods. Their 
priestly families call themselves Visva-Brahmans, a title which 
the whole casfco now adopts. Their gurus and purOhits are drawn 
exclusively from their own caste. Their caste titles are Asftxi 
and Pattar, corresponding to the Brahmanio Acharya and Bhatta. 
They wear the sacred thread [funTd) which they usually don on 
Updkarma day, (Avani-Avittam, August) when all tho twice- 
born renew their threads ; but some of them observe a regular 
investiture ceremony {Upaniiynna) on the J^rabmau model. Their 
marriage ceremonies, too, closely resomblo those of Brahmans, 
but a bride-price is paid. Most of them claim to be vegetarians. 
Saivite Artizans dispose of their dead by burial in a sitting 
posture, Vaishnavites by cremation.^ Widows are allowed to 
retain such of their jewels as adorn the head and nock. Women 
of the Saivite section, unlike those of other castes, throw the end 
of their body-cloth over the right shoulder; Vishnavites adhere 
to the usual custom. 

Kammalars, Kamsalas and Panchalas may not intermarry,^ but 
all three linguistic'sections are divided into five occupational clas sos, 
(1) Goldsmiths {tatidn), (2) Brass-workers {kanndn), (3) Carpenters 
(tachan), (4) Stone-masons {kaTrtachan) and (5) Blacksmiths 
{kollan). These five 'sub-divisions, descendants respectively of the 
five sons of Visvakarma, are permitted to intermarry, but the 


* See the article in Castes and Tribes, Vol. Ill, p. 1U6 bcj., from which much 
of the above ib extracted. 

* Each linguistic section contains several sub-castes; for example, the Kam- 
malars are divided into ChOla, Pandya and Kongu, the Kamsalas into Muriki- 
Nad i Paki-Nad, etc. {Castea and Tribes, Vol. Ill, sub voo.) 



goldsmiths, not unnaturally, claim social precedence over the CHAP. III. 
rest. There is also a tendency for the families in which the Survky of 


priesthood is hereditary to form a separate exclusive suh-caste. 

They arc also divided into exogamous clans Their caste Kammalars. 
administration is elaborately organised. Each of the five occu- 
pational sub-divisions has its elective Ndttdnmaihkdran assisted by 
a Kdriyastan. These sectional Ndttdnmatkkdrans are subject to 
the jurisdiction of an AinthU'VUiu-NdfldnmaiJchdran ^ (head of the 
"five houses") who is elected by representatives of all five 
t^ections.^ There is tendency for these offices to become hereditary. 
The Ainthu vUtu-NdttdnmaiMdran is assisted by four other 
Panchdyaidars, of whom one is usually appointed Kdriyastan. 
An appeal from this panchdyat lies to a Guru known as 
Jaya Venkatacharlu, who presides over a Maiain {Vipuri Matam) 
at Kaveri-patnam, and this Matam in turn appears to be subordi- 
nate to Brahmayyagari Matain at Pottalur in Cuddapah District. 
Kammalars are mostly Saivites, and some of them have adopted the 
Vira-Saiva faith. Their patron deity is Kamakshi. The Grama- 
Devatas are also worshipped, but not, it is said, with blood 
sacrifice. They are on amicable terms with Beri Chettis, 
Muhammadans and Pallars, a relationship probably connected 
with the political conditions which gave rise to the feud between 
the Eight and Left Hand Factions.^ The Pallars are known as 
Jdti-piUais or " servants of the caste." 

The Oddars or Navvies number 46,531, and are evenly (7) Labourers, 
distributed throughout the District. The Pallans or agricultural 
serfs number 20,483, and occur mostly in the Taluks of Tiruchen- 
gddu and Salem. 

The Oddars (Telugu — Odde, Kanarese — Vadda) speak an un- 
couth dialect of Telugu, and trace their name to the country of 
their traditional origin, Orissa. They are divided into four groups : 
(1) Kallu (stone), (2) Mannu (earth), (3) Maram (wood) and (4) 
Uppu (salt). Those of the Kallu (Telugu-Eati) section are 
workers in stone. They claim superiority over the other sections. 
They are more settled in their habits than the Man-Oddars, and 
are therefore sometimes known as tJr (village) Oddars as distinct 
from Bidaru (wanderers). They are also called Bandi Oddars, 
on account of the quaint clumsy buffalo-carts in which they carry 


1 Also called Ainthu Vittu Periya- Tanakkdran, Aidhiya Tejamdn DharmaJcartar, 

*The procedure is complex and the final choice is by lot ; it is described in 
detail in Castes and Tribes, 7ol. Ill, pp. 108-9, and in Madura District 
Qazetteer, p. 99 , 

' See p. 125, footnote. 




scbvet of 


stone.^ Till recently they have enjoyed a virtual monopoly of 
the quarrying and well-sinking arts in which thov are well skilled, 
and thev are able to command a rate of wages double that of the 
ordinary labourer. Most of their earnings, however, they spend 
on drink, and their standard of living is extremely low. The Man- 
Oddars * are in great demand for tank-digging, road-making and 
other operations requiring earth-work. They are migratory in 
their habits, shifting their settlements according to the demand 
for their labour, and forming temporary encampments on the 
outskirts of towns and villages, or in the vicinity of the work on 
which they are, for the time being, engaged. They live in one- 
roomed huts made of mats of split bamboo, fixed on a frame-work 
rounded like the covering of a country cart. The Mara- Oddars 
are comparatively rare ; they earn their living by cutting timber 
and carving wood.^ Uppu Oddars serve as sweepers in Union 
towns and villages, and are regarded as out-castes by the other 
sections. The significance of the term Uppu is not clear. The 
groups above enumerated are ordinarily ondogamous, but it is 
said that if a Man-Oddar turns his hand to stone-work, he is 
permitted to marry a Kal-Oddar girl. They will admit into 
their caste a Kuruba or GoIIh, or any one of higher caste than 
themselves. The usual title adopted by Oddars is B5yi. Caste 
PanchdyaU are presided over by a Yajamdn or Pedda B5yadu, 
and more serious disputes wore formerly referred to a Desayi 
Chetti of Balija caste. They belong to the Right Hand 
Faction. They may eat sheep, goats, pigs, squirrels, wild cats, 
lizards and mice, but not beef. EUamma is their patron deity, and, 
the victims sacrificed are slain with the thrust of a spear or crow- 
bar. Custom formerly prohibited a male Oddar from shaving his 
head or beard, bnt this rule is growing obsolete. Their women 
wear glaee bangles on the left arm only, on the right arm they 
wear brass bangles, or none at all.* They never wear the mwMai. 
It is considered improper for a woman to take much pride in her 
personal appearance. Music, flowers, and bhdshinga are not per- 
mitted at marriages. Divorce and widow-marriage are freely 
allowed, but it is not considered respectable for a woman to 
change her partner more than eighteen times. When a partition 
takes place, a pregnant woman may claim a share for her unborn 

* For a description of these carts and the method of quarrying see below, 
p. 278. 

2 In Telnga " Manli-Oddo " They are also called Bailu (" Maidan ") or 
• ' Desada " (Country). 

' A new Temple Car at Gangavalli was made recently by Mara-Oddar, but the 
workmanship is poor. 

* For the origin of this custom see Castes and Tribes, Vol. V, p. 429. 



CHAP. iir. 

Survey of 


child^. An unmarried girl or childless mother is buried without 
any ceremonies nt all. Though Oddars represent a low type of 
civilization, they may draw water from the common village well, 
and their proximity does not convey pollution. They are assimi- 
latinpr their weddinor and funeral ceremonies to those of the 

The Pallans, an agricultural serf caste of Tamils, numbered in Pallans 
1901 as many as 32,516. They are mostly found in the Talaghat 
Taluks, and their organization and customs follow to a great 
extent the practice of Konga Vellalars. Their name is fancifully 
derived from pallam (a hollow or low-lying ground) as they are 
specially skilful in wet cultivation. They are perennially at feud 
with the Pariahs, and they number among the Left Hand Castes. 
They respect Muhammadans as well as the higher Hindu castes, 
and look down upon Pariahs and Chucklers.^ 

The Pallans of the Kongu Country are organised in no less than 
24 Nads, scattered over Salem, Coimbatore and Trichinopoly, of 
which (1) Puvani, (2) Parutti-palli, (8) Elur, (4) Salem, (5) 
Vada-karai (Sankaridrug) and (6) Easipuram are in Salem District. 
In the first four the title Palakar is in vogue, in the filth Pannadi, 
and in the last Muppan. It will be observed that these Nads are 
almost identical with those of the Nattans (see p. 144), and they 
are probably of similar historic interest. 

-Barbers and Washermen (Dhobies) are of paramount impor- 
tance in every villatje. The Tamil Barbers or Ambattans number 
14,414, the Telugu Mangalas 1,495; the latter are confined to Hosiir 
Taluk. Kanarese Kelasis, or Nayindas ^ as they are also called, 
do not appear in the Census lists, and have probably been included 
under Ambattans. In 1901 they numbered 342. The Tamil 
Washermen or Vannans number 19,959, and are very evenly 
distributed throughout the District; the Telugu Tsakalas number 
1,839, and are confined to Hosur Taluk. The Kanarese Agasas 
are not shown at all. 

Almost all castes except Panchamas are dependent on Barbers Barbem. 
for the periodic or ceremonial shaving prescribed by custom. 
Most Brahmanic temples employ Barbers for the Periya-melam or 
temple band*. Barber women serve as midwives to the majority 

(8) Menials. 

^ Cf. Gantes and Tribes, Vol. V, p. 425, where a story is related of a pregnant 
woman claiming wages on behalf of her expected infant. 

2 For their customs see Trichinopoly Gazetteer, x>p. 128 to 130. Cf. Castes 
and Tribes— Yol. V, p. 472 sq. 

^ For Nayindas see E.S.ld., No. XII. 

* Their distinctive instruments are (1) the ndgaauram, (2) the tutti and 
(3) the tdlam. 



CHAP. m. 



(9) Military 


of IJindn castes, and in some castes (eg} Konga V^ellalars, 
Nattars, etc.), a barber has important ceremonial duties at wed- 
dings and funerals. 

The Dhoby, too, has many important ceremonial duties to 
perform on the occasion of births, marriages, deaths, etc., among 
caste Hindus. In towns he is paid for his ordinary services in 
cash, but in villages he is rewarded in kind, cooked food being a 
common form of remimeration. At festivals, marriages, deaths, 
etc., be is entitled to gifts, and he can also claim a perquisite of 
grain at the time of harvest. 

The customs of Barbers and Dhobies resemble closely those of 
other Hindus. ^ 

Salem District, and especially the Baramahal, is littered with 
relics of the armies of bygone days. Though 2,267 persons have 
returned themselves as " Kshatriyas," it is doubtfid whether 
their claims to the title would stand criticism. The military 
traditions of the Pallis and Vettuvans have already been referred 
to (pp. 142 and 150). The great wave of Vijayanogar 
conquest is represented by the settlements of Balijas, Kapus, 
Kammas, Telagas and Eflzus. The Eagnliir Palaiyam was a 
military fief of Telugu origin. Fortified villages, such as 
Pennagaram, Kodi-halli, Perumbalai, still retain the descendants 
of Golla and Balija garrisons, who have substituted ploughshares 
and pruning hooks for swords, while Umbilikai Inams, which 
are fiefs granted for military service, are still enjoyed by 
Gollas, Bestaa and Balijas, especially in tiie surviving Palai- 
yams. The warlike propensities of the Kanareso people are testified 
to by the Masti Poligars (Borikai and Sulagiri), and by the 
Umbilikai Inams of Bedas and Kurubas. Lastly the sanguinary 
history of the eighteenth century has left its legacy of Muham- 
madan, Maratha, and Eajput settlements. 

The Marathas number 4,244 and are most numerous in the 
Taluks of Hostir and Krishnagiri, where their settleinents are 
rather large.^ Many of them are military pensionerSj and, 
they still take pride in their connection with the Indian Army. 
They call themselves Kshatriyas, and look down upon the indige- 
nous "Hindus. Like the Razus, thoy don the sacred thread on the 
eve of marriage. They employ Brahman puro/iits, and observe 

' See page 146. 

* Much interesting information is embodied in E.S.M., No. IV, Agasa and 
No. XII, Nayinda. 

^ Particularly in Krishnagiri Town and at Nachi-knppam (near VCppana-palli) 
and Samanta-malai (near Krishnagiri) and Virupa-sandiraiii. There are 
similar fettlements near the Javadis of Tiruppattur Taluk at Andi-appanur 
9rad Nayakkanur. 


the mmaJ<arana))i, ear-boring, tonsure, and slmanfam ceremonies. CHAP, III. 
They are divided into a largo number of exogamous clans, each of Survey of 

which has a family surname, analogous to the inti-perlu of the '_ ' 

Telugus. As is natural in a caste which is jealous of the purity Marathas. 
of its blood in a foreign country, intermarriage is usually 
allowed only between such clans as have been previously connected 
by the marriage tie. The ceremonies preliminary to a wedding 
are performed separately for bride and bridegroom in their 
respective houses, and each party should erect a pandal.^ 
Their customs follow the Telugu-Kanarese type. They prefer to 
burn the dead, though eepulturc is permissible. They observe 
the anniversary of the dead by a few gifts to needy Brahmans. 
They worship Parvati under the name of Bhavani, and observe 
the Sakti cults .^ 

Rajputs number only 683, most of whom are to be found Rajpnts. 
in Salom and Hosur Taluks.^ The majority of these families 
migrated from North India not more than half a dozen genera- 
tions ago. They go by the title Singh, observe gosha, wear the 
sacred thread, and hold themselves aloof from their Dravidian 
neighbours. Some of them serve Government as Village 

Kazns, who number only 332, occur in Hosur and IJttan- The Eazua. 
karai Taluks. They speak Telugu, and are supposed to be 
descendants of Kapus who discarded their ancestral vocation for 
soldiering. They claim to be Kshatriyas, and are invested with 
a sacred thread of cotton and wool on the eve of marriage, but 
they eat the flesh of fowls, a diot w^hich a true Kshatriya should 
avoid. They make excellent peons, and sometimes rise to higher 
grades in the service of Government.* 

The great Sectarian Caste is that of the Vira-Saivas or (lo) Sectaii- 
LingayatS, who sprang into political importance during the ^^ Lingayatii 

1 Baramahal Records, Section III, p. 170, where a detailed description is given 
of their customs. An excellent account of the Marathas by Major (now Col.) 
R.M.Betham of the lOlst Grenadiers will be found in the Indian Army Hand- 
book on Marathas and DeTchani Musalmans 1908. 

2 The fighting Marathas must not be confused with the Maratha tailors 
(Namdev) and dyers (Eangaris) com.monly met with in Sonth India. There 
are a few Rangaris in Hosur Taluk. In Tali there is a small settlement of 
Maratha Bondilis. 

8 The Mittadar of Aikondam-Kotti-palli is a Rajput, and there are small 
aettlements in the head-quarters of that Mitta, and also in Sandtir and 
Nagojana-halli (all in Krishnagiri Taluk). 

* An elaborate sketch of the customs of the "Rachawaru" is given in 
Baramahal Records, Section III, p. 18, but it is not quite clear to what caste 
the description refers. 

8 For further details see Castes and Trihes, Yol. VI, 247 sc[. 

192 SALEM. 

CHAP. III. brief regime of the KalacliurjaB (Bijjala and his sons, 1157-88 
SoRVE-i OF A.D.). The essence of their history is a repudiation of orthodox 
Oastes. Brahmanism, and their fortunes have been intimately associated 
Lingayats. with the fortunes of the Kanarese people, though their teuets are 
also widely spread among the Telugus. Theoretically all castes 
can be admitted to their fold ; internally, however, the commu- 
nity has reverted to the type of orthodox Hinduism, and it is 
divided into innumerable endogamous groups, the jus connubti 
being defined, sometimes by language, sometimes by occupation, 
and sometimes by caste distinctions inherited from their uncon- 
verted ancestors. Hence it is that many Lingayats still describe 
themselves as Kapus, Balijas, Vakkiligas, etc. In the present 
District 7,578 persons are returned as Lingayats, most of them 
residing in Hostir Taluk. It is probable, however, that some, if 
not all, of the Jangams (14,360), Kaunadiyaus ^ (817), and 
Sadars * (370) are true Lingayats. The Jangams are nume- 
rous in the four Talaghat taluks, the other two sections are met 
with in Salem and Atttir. 

Though the Lingayats as a sect trace their origin to Bijjala's 
minister Basava in the twelfth century A.D., the Vira-Saiva faith 
is said to be of primeval origin, and its tenets are based on the 
Vedas. It was founded by a number of Acharyas, of whom the 
five most famous are known as the " Gotrakartas of the Lingayat 
Dwijas,'' having received " their mandate direct from Siva to 
establish his true religion on earth, or rather to restore it to its 
purity." ^ 

The essence of Lingayat faith is an unquestioning belief in 
the efficacy of the Hngam, the symbol of Siva. The lingam is 
regarded as the " universal leveller," rendering all its wearers 
equal in the eyes of God. Unlike other Hindus, every Lingayat 
always wears a lingnm on some conspicuous part of his person. 
These Jangama limjaim, or moveable linyams, are made of soap- 
stone brought from Srisaila iu Kurnool District by a class of 
Lingayats called Kambi Jangams. The Itnyam itself is not 
more than three-fourths of an inch in height ; to keep it from 
harm it is " plastered with a black mixture of clay, cowdung 
ashes and marking-nut juice, forming a alight truncated cone, not 
unlike a dark betel nut, about three-quarters of an inch high, and 

1 Kannadiyaii means literally a Kannada (or Kiinarese) man. For further 
information, see Madras Census Report, 1891, paragraph 383, North Arcot 
Manual, p. 225, and Catites and Tribes, Vol. Ill, p. 200. 

* For Sadar, see Mysore Census Report, 1891, p. 226, Buchanan's Mysore, I. 
p. 292, and Castes and Tribes, Vol. VI, p. 2G0. 

' Mysore Census Report, 1901. 



narrowing- from three-quarters of an incli at the base to half an CHAP. III. 
inch across the top.^ " It is usually kept in a little silver box Scrvky ob 

suspended by a cord, or tied in a silk cloth, round the nook, arm ' 

or forehead. Every child is invested with the lingam on the 7th Lingayata. 

or 11th day after birth, when the naming ceremony is performed, 

and his lingam must never leave his possession till he dies, and it 

is placed in his left hand when his body is committed to the 


The strength of the Lingayats lies in their ecclesiastical 
organisation. Each of the five Gotrakartas founded a Mafam 
called Simhdsana, and these five Matams, each under its own 
Acharya, have divided the Lingayats between them into five 
territorial dioceses. The five Smhdsanas are (1) Ujjani, in 
Kudligi Taluk, Bellary District, founded by Marulacharya, (2) 
Balehonntir. in Koppa Taluk, Kadur District (Mysore State), 
founded by Renukacharya, (3) Benares (Kasi), founded by 
Visvacharya, (4) Himavat-Kedara, in the Himahiyas of Garhwal 
District (U.P.), founded by Ekoramaoharya, and (5) Srisaila, 
otherwise called Parvata, in Kurnool District, founded by 
Pandit acharya. Each of these Moiams has under it, wherever 
the community is numerous, a number of Suh-MatamSf each 
under a Pattadaswami and each ^ah-Matam has a number of 
Branch- Madams called Gun(-stala-Matams. The rights and 
duties of the Swdmis of these Matams are " to preside at all 
religious functions, to receive their dues, to impart religious 
instruction, to settle all religious and caste disputes, and to 
exercise a general control over all matters affecting the religious 
interests of the community at large.'^ " The descendants of the 
five Gotrakartas form a separate sub-caste called Aradhya 
Brahmans, who claim superiority over all other Lingayats, and 
only marry among themselves, bury their dead in a sitting 
posture and observe death pollution for ten days like other 
Brahmans.^ In addition to the above executive arrangements, 
the Vira-Saivas possess another order of priests called Viraktas or 
Shat-stala Nirabharis, who hold the highest position in the 
ecclesiastical order, and therefore command the highest respect, 
from laymen as well as from the above-mentioned Matams. There 
are three chief Virakta Matams, of which the Muragi Matmn of 

^ Bombay Gazetteer of Bijapuv quoted io Castes and Tribes, Yol. IV, p. 256. 

2 So writes Mr. K. P. Puttanna Chettiyar, late Senior Councillor of Mygore, by 
whom most of the information regarding the hierarchical system has been 

' See Castes and Trile^, Vol. I, p. 53, for further details, 




Survey of 




Chitaldrug (Mysore State) ,^ exercises authority in Salem District. 
These Virakta Matams have their respective ^uh-Matanis and 
^rauch-HJ atoms scattered throughout India. "Every Lingayat 
centre has a Virakta-J/a^rt;n huilt outside the town, in which 
the Swarai leads a simple and spiritual life. Unlike other priests, 
the Virakta-Swami is prohibited from pr siding on ceremonial 
occasions, and from receiving unnecessary alms. He should 
devote his life partly to spiritual meditation, and partly to the 
spreading of spiritual knowledge among his disciples, so that he 
would be the fountain-head to whom all laymen and all priests 
must resort for spiritual enlightenment, in short his position is 
that of a pure Sanyasi or Yati." 

Caste disputes iri Salem District are decided in the first 
instance by a panchdyat, presided over by a MahaUPadam or 
Mata- Mudirait the local representative of the Matam in whose 
jurisdiction the contending parties reside, assisted by the local 
headman {Chetti) who holds office by hereditary right, a 
Yajamdn, and not less than two other caste-men. From this 
'panchdyat an appeal lies to the nearest local Branch or Sub- 
Matam, in the case of Salem District to the Matams at Ballapalli, 
or Grummalapuram in Hosiir Taluk, or Eajapuram near Anekal, 
all of which are branches of the Balchonnur Hca.d-Maiam. 

Lingayats abstain strictly from animal food and from 
alcohol. They are unique, however, in refusing to observe any 
pollution period after childbirth, menstruation or death, it being 
held that, so long as the Urn/am is worn on the person, there can 
be no pollution. After attaining puberty the girl is purified with 
holy water, and so also on the tenth day after childbirth, but 
segregation is not resorted to, and no taboo appears to be 
observed. A pregnant woman is said to partake of a diet 
of clay and ashes, and she must not see an eclipse for fear her 
offspring may bo a monster. 

The Mendicant Castes are varied, but not numerous. The 
strongest numerically are the Andis (7,128), the Pandarams 
(1,526) and the J5gis (1,422), but all these terms are loosely used, 
and it cannot be said that any one of them refers to a true sub- 
caste. The word Pandaram is used for a class of priests who serve 
Vellalars, and whose social position is higlily respected. A similar 
vagueness of meaning characterises the term Ddsari or Tathan, 
Mondi, Bairagi and Banda, a few of whom appear in the Census 
returns. The Viramushtis and Mailaris bog only from Komatis and 

1 The other two Virakta Matams are (1) the Dombal Matam at Oadagaad (2) 
the Murusa-Virada Matara at Uuhli, both in Dharwar District. 



other Vaisya Chettis, while the Pichigmidlu (608) beg only from CHAP. HI. 
Kapus and G oil as. The existence of these parasitic mendicants, caItks."' 

who depend entirely on the charity of one or two specified castes, 

is an interesting characteristic of the social life of South India.^ 

A few remarks are necessary on the Kanakkans, 8at3,nis, (12) Miscella 
Koravas, Dombaras, Lambadis and Irulas, who cannot be "®°°"- 
groupeil under any of the above classes. 

The Kanakkans (a caste of hereditary village accountants) ac- Kanakkans. 
cording to the Census of 1911, numbered 3,354, most of whom occur 
in the taluks of Salem, Omalur, Tirucheng5du and Krishnagiri. 
It is possible, however, that many Jcarnams were returned as Kanak- 
kans, who do not belong to the Kanakkan caste at all ^. The post 
of village accountant in Salem District is virtually a Brahman 
monopoly, except in the Taluks of Salem, Omalur and Tiruchen- 
godu, where about 40 Government Jcarnams are of Kanakkan caste. 

The Satanis, a caste of temple servants, numbered only 2,479 ^ Satanis. 
and they are evenly distributed throughout the District. They 
reside mostly in towns, and are in no sense a rural community. 
Their traditional occupation is the performance of " menial 
services in Vishnu temples, but they supplement their earnings by 
begging, tending flower-gardens, selling flower-garlands, making 
fans, grinding sandal-wood into powder, and selling perfumes.'' " 
They act as purohits to many castes, notably to the Balijas and 
Komatis. They object to the term Satani, by which they are 
generally known, and prefer to be called Sattada-Vaishnavas ^ 
In their customs they approximate closely to Tengalai-Vaishnava 
Brahmans. They call themselves " Ayya," shave their head 
completely, and tie their veshtt like a Brahman bachelor. They 
do not, however, wear the sacred thread, and some of them bury 
their dead. Their women-folk dress like Vaishnava Brahman 
ladies. They are divided into four sections; (1) Ekaksharis, who 
win salvation by the one mystic monosyllable Om, and who are said 

1 An excellent, account of the Mendicant castes is given by Mr. Francis in 
the Census Report for 1901 under the head of Andi (p. 141). An exhaustive list 
of references is there given. 

2 The extraordinary variations in the proportion of males to females in the 
several tHluks seems to indicate that the Census statistics of Kanakkans are not 
quite reliable. 

3 In no disti-ict of the Madras Presidency are the Satanis a numerous com- 
munity, though there are several hundreds of thom in every district, except on 
the "West Coast and in the Nilgiris. In 1901 in only two districts (Coimbatore 
and Ganjam) did their numbers exceed 3,000. 

* North Arcot District Manual, Vol. I, p. 200. 

5 Or Prapanna Vaishnava, Narabi, Veukatapura Yaishnava, etc., see CaHea 
and Tribes, Vol. VI, p. 300. 







to take precedence of the remaining sections ; (2) Chaturakshari 
whose sacred utterance is the quadrisjllabic Ea-ma-mi-ja ; (3) 
Ashtaksharis whose shibboleth is the octosyllabic Om-na-mo-na- 
ra-ya-na-ya (Om, salutation to Narayana) and (4) Kulasekharas, 
who claim descent from the Vaishnava saint Kulasekhara Alvar, a 
king of Kerala. These groups were at one time endogamous, but 
it is said the first three are now permitted to intermarry. 

^ The Koravas, who numbered 14,688, are coi-nmonly spoken of 
as a gipsy tribe, but in some parts of Salem District they have 
organised a regular Kdval system, similar to that of the Kalians in 
Triohinopoly and Tanjoro. They are commonest in Attu); (5,754) 
and Uttankarai (2,486), and they are to bo found in every taluk 
of the District. Their language is a medley of Tamil, Telugu and 
Kanarese, the Tamil element usually preponderating, and they 
use their own peculiar thieves' slang. Difference in language is 
not, apparently, a bar to intermarriage. The exact relationship 
that their numerous sub-divisions bear to one another is by no 
means clear. The best known sections are: (1) Dhabbai (basket), 
(2) XJppu (salt), (3) Karuveppilai {Murraya Koenigii) and (4) 
Kavalkaran (guard) Koravas, all of which are probably true 
sub-castes. The Dhabbai Koravas (also called tJru- Koravas) make 
baskets and other articles of bamboo and palm-leaves. Tlie Uppu 
Koravas, who are also known as Ghattada or Ettiua Koravas, are 
itinerant traders in salt. It is doubtful whether the Kunjara 
(fan), Nari (jackal) and Punai-kntti (cat -killing) Koravas are 
distinct sub-castes, or whether any of these terms are synonymous 
with other sections. The Pachai-kutti Koravas enjoy almost a 
monopoly in the art of tattooing. The Ina Koravas (called also 
Mudichi-avukki or Mudichumari) are pickjiockets. All Koravas 
appear to recognise four quasi-exogamous subdivisions, viz. (1) 
Kavadi, (2) Menpadi, (3) Mendra-kutti and (4) Sattupadi. These 
names are said to be connected with worship ; Kavadis carry the 
kdvadi so frequently associated with the worship of Subrahmanya, 
who is the patron deity of the whole caste ; Menpadis sing praises, 
and Mendra-kuttis offer shoos to the idol, while Sattupadis adorn 
their god with flowers and jewels.^ The Kavadis and. Sattupadis 
rank higher than the other sections, and are alone regarded as true 
Koravas. Two other clans are reported, the Uyyalu (from unjal^ 

1 In the Census Returns they are called Knruvans ; they are also called 
Korama and Koracha, and appear to be identical with the Yerukalag of the 
northern districts of the Madras Presidency ; see Castes and Tribes, Vol. Ill, p. 
439 sq. 

* The etymology seems fanciful, and has not beeo tested by observance of 
<^otual oustpm. 



a swing) and the Bandi (cart). According to one account the 
Kavadi and Sattupadi sections may not intermarry, and must 
choose their brides from the Menpadis or Mendra-kuttis, who also 
are prohibited from intormarryiug with each other ; according to 
another account the Kavadis and Uyjalus form one ddyddi 
vaguppu and the Bandis, Menpadi, Mendra-kuttis and Sattupadis 
another, marriage only being allowed between the two vagiippus, 
Kavalkara Koravas are also called Morasu, Monda and Kadu- 
kutti (ear-boring) ; but the significance of these terms is not clear. 
The Kavalkara Koravas of the Talaghat are divided into three 
groups, which are ondogamous, viz. (1) Mel-Nad, residing south 
of Salem, (2) Attur-Nad, east of Attur, and (3) Salem-Nad, west 
of Atttir and east of Salem. Of these, the Salem-Nad Koravas 
claim superiority, ^ and are said to employ Brahman purohits, and 
their customs approximate more closely than those of the other 
Nads to the orthodox customs of Hinduism ; they also abstain from 
eating squirrels, cats or tortoises, which are eaten by Koravas of 
the other Nads. Korava panehdyats in the Talaghat are presided 
over by a Pattanam-Chetti, a Balija by caste, who resides in Attiir. 
The price of adultery is five Pagodas (Rs, 17|), and of assault 
Es. 5. In addition to the ordeals of hot iron and boiling ghee, a 
suspected Korava is sometimes made to drink water mingled with 
ashes from a burning-ground, and, if he vomits, his giiilt is 
established. Another test, as between two litigants, is for each 
party to boil simultaneously a pot of rice and water^ the party 
whose pot boils first being acquitted. 

Koravas are hard drinkers, and their morals are loose. Poly- 
gamy is freely practised, widows and divorcees may re-marry. 
Marriage is usually adult, and the wife may be older than the 
husband. Among the Uppu and Karuveppilai Koravas the bride- 
price is said to be as much as Es. 70, but this is paid in instal- 
ments, and the payment of these instalments is a fruitful source 
of quarrels, the full amount being but rarely paid up. The tdli 
consists of a. string of black beads. At a wedding of Kavalkara 
Koravas a pandal is erected, and covered with leaves of Naga- 
maram {Eugenia jambolana) , and the bride and bridegroom take 
their seats on a rice-pounding pestle, covered with a yellow cloth. 
The tali is of gold, and is tied with a yellow thread. 

The proper dress for a Korachi is a coarse black cloth, but they 
also wear stolen cloths of any kind. They affect necklaces of 
cowries and green beads, bangles of brass from the elbow to the 
wrist, and cheap rings of brass, lead and silver on all except the 

CHAP. iir. 

sorvet of 


^ The Salem-Nad Koravas use a Kanlcanam of cotton-thread smeared with 
saffron at marriages, the Mel-Nad Koravas use a Jcankanam of wool. 




survet of 



middle finger. Their criminal methods are described on Vol. II, 
p. 94. Their Kdval fees {merai) consists of 12 Madras measures of 
grain and a sheep per annum from each household, and. Es. 6 for 
every tope of coco-nut or areca: The salutary custom of recovering, 
or giving compensation for, all property stolen iu villages protected 
by the kdval is unfortunately dying out. When a burglary is 
committed, those who enter the houses looted claim two-thirds of 
the loot, and those who " keep cave " outside are entitled to one- 
third. It is said that two shares are also allotted to the headman^ 
half shares to wives whose husbands are in jail, a fourth share 
each to old men, and to those who stay at home to guard the huts 
and personate those who have gone out to commit crime, and an 
eighth share to their Stcdmi. To evade identification every 
Korava has a bewildering string of alia^eSy both for his own, and 
for his father's name. 

Koravas bury their dead. Among the Uppu Koravas, if the 
deceased be unmarried, the body is wrapped in a yellow sheet and 
decked with flowers, and if married in a white sheet, while the 
corpse of a widow is honoured with neither sheet nor flowers. 

Theclever acrobats known as Dombaras,' Dommaras or Domars, 
are found in every taluk of the District, thougli they number 
only 741. Their original habit is nomadic, but in the Baramahal 
some members of the caste have settled. They recount a story 
that their original ancestor, one Krishna Iveddi, beiug childless, 
vowed to the god Chenna-Kesvara that if issue were granted him, 
the first-born, if a boy, should follow his father's profession, and if 
a girl, should become a public prostitute. His prayer was granted, 
and a daughter was born to him, and from her all Dorabaras are 
descended.* They are said to recognise* four sub-castes"': (1) 
Eeddi, (2) Pokanati, (3) Ara \ (4) Marathi. The first two speak 
Telugu in a corrupted form,"^ the last two speak Marathi and Hindu- 
stani. The Pdkanatis abandoned their life of wandering and 
settled round Kuppam. All four groups profess to be Vaishnavites. 

The name is said to be derived from dombavi, the vertical pole on which 
most of their feats are performed. A favourite trick is for one of tlicir company 
to swarm up this pole, and lying flat in his belly, to turn rapidly round and 
round (see Castes and Tribes, Vol. II, p. 190). On the word Uombar, see also 
E.8M., No. XUI, p. 1. 

* Two interesting legends of their origin are given in E.S.M,, No. XI II, p. 2. 

* In E,S.M , loo. cit. only two sub-castes are recognised, vi«., Urn and Kadu 

* The word Ara is said bj some to mean nothing more than Marathi, The 
Ara Dombaras, however, declare it to be a corruption of Ar-ibi, and trace their 
origin to an Arabian lover ot Krishna Reddi's daughter. 

' See the Vocabulary published in E.S.M., pp. 24-30, 


They are divided into numerous exogamous claas,^ of which the CHAP. III. 
following are reported from Salem District : (1) Matlivallu, " the ^ cYste^ 

people of Matli", the name of their Gum, and, it is said, of the 

village of Chitvel in Cuddapah District, which is still their head- Dombaras. 
quarters, and in which their chief Guru still resides ; (2) 
Dalavayalu, the clan from which their Dalavay, or " war 
minister " ia selected ; (3) Kaserupu-vallu, so called from a village 
in Cuddapah District where a certain Dombara won the prize in a 
competition of acrobatic feats ; (4) Sonduru-vallu, a clan of 
Dombaras who lived in a vanam (desert) in Cuddapah ; (5) Nadu- 
muleni-vallu, " men without waists ;" (6) Natakarayani-vallu, 
** dramatists "; (7) Murari-vallu, " the servant people ", originally 
attendants of the Matli-vallu. Once in five years a great 
gathering of Dombaras assembles at Berikai under the presideney 
of a hereditary Tejamdn (or Dorai), assisted by a hereditary 
Dalavay or Mandiri, and a council of 10 or 15, selected by these 
officers from their own relatives. The meeting opens on the 
Telugu New Year's Day, and its time is devoted to deciding caste 
disputes, arranging marriages, and punishing-evil doers. 
Delinquents are branded on the tongue, or flogged with tamarind 
twigs till the blood flows. An excommunicate may be readmitted 
to caste on undergoing the punishments ordoredby the Yejaman, 
who sprinkles him with Urtam and gives him some to drink. 
A wife suspected of misconduct is made to stand during her 
trial in a bending posture, onions and radishes are suspended 
from her ears, and two grindstones are hung by a rope round 
her neck. 

Dombaras of migratory habits live in portable huts of bamboo 
and the leaves of palmyra or coco-nut^ which they carry from 
place to place on asses ; settled Dombara;* earn a living by breeding 
pigs and asses, and selling needles, bhads, combs, etc.^ Their 
marriage ceremonies are curious and elaborate, as also are those 
connected with the attainment of puberty, but unfortunately 
space does not permit any detailed description. ^ The bride-price 
is Es. 54, a figure unusually high. Sometimes a Brahman is 
called in to officiate on the day the tali is tied, but otherwise 
Brahmans are not employed. Among the settled Dombaras 
widow remarriage is forbidden, but a widow is at liberty to live 
in concubinage, provided she feasts some of her relatives on the 

1 See the list oq p. 31 of E.SM., No. XIII, where the subdivisions are, 
however, described as '* neither endogamoas nor exogamous." 

■ See E.S.M., No. XIII, p. 21, for the story which accounts for their 
special industry, the manufacture of wooden combs. 

' A.n excellent account of both is given in £.SJf., No. XIII, pp. 5 to 9. 



Survey of 




GHAP. III. night she enters her new house. The wandering- Domharas, 
however, freely tolerate remarriage. To avert the Evil Eye when 
performing their feats of skill, they wear a black woollen thread 
on the leg or arm. They bury their dead, and their funerals are 
celebrated with much hard drinking. patron goddess is 

The itinerant gipsy trihe of Lambadls, otherwise known as 
Sukalis or Brinjaris,^ numbers only 1,386, and is mostly confined 
to the taluks of Hosur, Dharmapuri, and IJttankarai. In the 
wars of the eighteenth century they played an important part as 
carriers for both the British and the Mysorean troops, and the 
pages of Buchanan and other contemporary writers present a 
vivid picture of the depredations they committed in the villages 
along their line of march. Lambadis contributed materially to 
the depopulation of the Kaveri-side villages of Hosur and 
Dharmapuri.'* '* Even in the time of peace " writes Buchanan, ^ 
they " cannot entirely abstain from plunder. In the small 
villages near the forest they occasionally rob and commit murder. 
Nor is it safe for one or two persons to pass unarmed througli 
places in which they are. On account of their services during the 
two last wars, they have hitherto been treated with great indul- 
gence. This has added audaciousness to the natural barbarity of 
their disposition, and in order to repress their insolence it was 
lately necessary to have recourse to a regular military force.'* 
Buchanan mentions a company of them that employed 12,000 
cattle, and obtained from Tipu a " monopoly of every article of 
commerce except cloth, tobacco, and boiled butter, which continued 
open ". 

Their criminal propensities have not abated. " In February 
1905, a boy who was tending cattle on the banks of the Kavori 
near Pennagaram was missed by his father, who on search came 
to know that he has been sold by a shepherd for Es. 22. Some- 
time afterwards the boy was recovered near Tumkur, in Mysore 
State, from the house of a Lambadi, who had bought the boy 
from a woman of his own caste for Ks. 32. Both these Lambadis 
admitted the transaction in the Sessions Court, and pleaded 
justification, on the ground that it was usual among Lambadis to 
buy and sell orphans. They admitted, too, that the boy had often 

* A distinction appeais to exist between the terms Sukali and Brinjdri 
(or Banjari), but the natuie of the distinction is not clear — vide Castes and 
Tribes, Vol. IV, p. 210. For detailed description of the caste see lE.S.Hl. 
No. XXV. of. Bellary District Gazetteer, p. 74. 

» See below Vol. II, p. 110. 

» Buchanan Vol, II, p. 438, 


requested them to send hira to his parents. The boy said that CHAP. ill. 
he had been treated kindly."' ^ Survey of 

The jangle tribe of Irulas numbers 4,161, and is practically Pastes. 
confined to the Baramahal and Balaghat. " They are very wild Imlas. 
and suspicious in their habits, distrusting their more civilised 
neighbours, who in return fear them as possessed of mysterious 
powers derived from witchcraft. The Irulas are supposed to 
hold some valuable secrets as to the medicinal and other 
properties of herbs and drugs obtainable in the jungles. It is 
probable that they do ; but they are so reticent on the subject that 
nothing of value can be extracted from them. Their chief source 
of livelihood consists in collecting the various kinds of jungle 
produce, dyes, wax, nuts, etc., for sale."^ On account of their 
occult powers they are popularly called Kdttu Pujdris^ or " Priests 
of the Jungle." 

The Panchamas, (the " fifth caste ", as the name implies), (13) Paocha- 
include (1) the Tamil Pariahs, or, more correctly, Paraiyans, (2) '"*^* 
the Telugu Malas, (3) the Kanarese Holeyas, (4) the Valluvans 
or Pariah Priests, (5) the ChucMers, or, more correctly, Sakkiliyans, 
and (6) the Madigas, both Telugu and Kanarese. The Malas and 
Holeyas hold the same position in the social scale of the Telugu 
and Kanarese castes respectively as the Pariahs do among the 
Tamils. The Madigas, or Telugu leather- workers, correspond in 
the Telugu country to the Ohucljlers in the Tamil country, though 
the Chucklers also usually speak Telugu. The Pariahs number 
nearly 150,000, and are evenly distributed throughout the District, 
being specially strong in Salem, Attiir and Uttankarai Taluks. 
The Malas are returned as 16,347. The Census Eeturns show no 
Holeyas, but it is certain they have been included in the Pariahs 
and Malas. The Valluvans muster nearly 4,000, and are evenly 
distributed. The Chucklers number nearly 60,000, the Madigas 
a little less than 3,000. 

Unfortunately little is known regarding the various sub-castes Paraiyans. 
of Paraiyans.^ The best known sub- caste is that of the Tangalans, 
from whom most of the servants of Europeans are drawn. They 
are identified by some with the Vadakkatti Paraiyans. These 
two classes occur throughout the Talaghat, and are also common in 
Uttankarai and Dharmapuri Taluks. Konga Paraiyans are 
common in Hosui Taluk, and also in Salem, Omalur and Tiru- 
cheng5da. They comprise two sub-castes (1) Otta-valaiyal, and 

1 Madras Mailoi IGth April 3907. 

2 S.D.M., Vol. II, p. 166. For further details see Castes and Tribes, Vol. II, 
p, 372 sq. and South Arcof District Gazetteer, p. 210. 

* lu the Census of 1891, as many as 348 sub-divisions were recorded, but the 
list is of little scientific valae< 




Survey of 



(2) Retta-valaijal ; the women-folk of the former wear bangles of 
the ehank ' shell on the left arm only, the latter wear ordinary 
bangles on both arms. The females of the Konga Paraiyans are 
distinguished from others by wearing their upper cloth on the 
right hip. The Otta-valaiyal Paraiyans, who are found at 
Easipuram and Namagiripet, are said to proliibit the re-marriage 
of widows and the eating of frogs, the Retta-valaiyal Paraiyans 
permit both practices. The Kizhakkatti Paraiyans ^ are also 
described as frog-eating {Tavalai-tinni) , Soliya (Ch51a) Pariahs 
are found in Salem and Omalur, and are by some identified with 
the Klzhakkattis. Katti Paraiyans are so called o)i account of their 
hereditary occupation of iron-smelting (Katti = pig-iron); they are 
common in Dharmapuri, Omalur, Salem and Attur. The 
Paraiyans arc served by Pariah washermen, who do not inter- 
marry with other Paraiyans, and form a true sub-caste, and the 
same appears to hold good of their barbers also. In Hostir Taluk, 
there are several settlements of Tamil-speaking Tigala Paraiyans, 
who also seem to be a distinct sub-caste, immigrants from the 
Tamil country, who have settled' among the Tolugua and Kana- 
rese. The so-called .Koleya, Morasu, Magga, and Kannadiya 
Paraiyans would more correctly be described as Holeyas, and the 
Manna, Vaduga, and Tonda Paraiyans as Malas. 

Pariahs look down upon Malas, Holeyas, Madigas and 
Chucklers, and will not dine with them. Being of the Right Hand 
Faction, they appear to bear a special antipathy against Kammalars 
Vaniyars and Nagarattu Chettis, and will not receive food from 
their hands. For purohiis they usually employ Vallnvans. 

The Valluvans arc Paudarams (priests) to the Paraiyans, and 
officiate as purOhits at their marriages and at most auspicious 
ceremonies, but do not intermarry with them. They are celel)rated 
as fortune-tellers (/osiyam) and exorcists, and as such are respected 
even by Brahmans. They occur in all the taluks, but are rare in 
Ilosur, and most numerous in Salem and Attur. The term 
Valluvar appears to include several sub-castes, such as Tiru- 
Valluvar, Kai-pidi, Pti-katti, Moram-katti.* The 'J'iru-Valluvars 
do not interdine with other Paraiyans, and some of them have 
adopted the sacred thread ; they sometimes call themselves 
" Nayanar." The other three sub-castes eat with Paraiyans, pro- 
vided the meal is prepared in a now vessel. Valluvars are reported 

* Perhaps therefore to be identified with the Sanku Paraiyans or Sankfi- 
' katti. 

* Esp. Talaivasal, Oduvan-kuriohi and Rasiparam. 
3 Cf. Tixala Pallis, p. 143, note 5. 

* They are divided into two factions, the Arupathu-Katchi and the 
Narpatha-Katohi (the " sixty " and the " forty ") ; Castes and Tribes, s.v., p. 305. 



to abstain from eating beef ; they are both Vaishnavites and CHAP. III. 
Saivites, the latter being buried in a sitting posture ; the two sects Sdrvky of 

mtermarrj, and arc common in the Talaghat and in Dharmapuri " 


The sub-castes of the Malas of Salem District are yet to be Mains. 
defined. Though the Census statistics confine the Malasto Hosiir 
Taluk, the Vaduga Paraiyans of tJttankarai Taluk and the Manna 
(or Mannai) Paraiyans of Dharmapuri, Salem and Omaltir Taluka, 
all of whom speak Telugu, should probably be classed among 
them.^ There is a fairly large settlement of Manna Paraiyans in 
Kichi-palaiyam in Salem City, who are said to hold themselves 
aloof from other Paraiyans and abstain from the eating of beef. 
In Dharmapuri, however, they appear to be looked down upon by 
both the Tamil Paraiyans and the Holeyas. Generally speaking, 
Holey as and Malas may " interdine ". but may not intermarry. 

In Salem District Holeyas are known as Morasu, Magga, or Holeyas. 
Koleya Paraiyans. They are common in Hosur and Krishnagiri, 
and in the west of Dharmapuri, and a few settlements occur in 
tJttankarai, Salem, Omalur and Tiruchengodu. " Morasu " is a 
general term for the people of the Morasu Nad, and "Magge" 
(loom) indicates one of their distinctive occupations, the weaving 
of coarse cotton cloths, a vocation they follow even in the Talaghat. 
It is not clear whether more than one true sub-caste is represented 
in the District, as the Morasus appear to include the Maggas. 

Of the 60,000 Chucklers in the District, over 20,000 occur in Chucklers. 
Tiruchengodu Taluk, nearly as many in Salem, and about 5,000in 
Omalur ; they are well represented in all the other taluks, though 
it is probable that a good number of Madigas have been classed 
under this head in Hosiir Taluk and the adjoining tracts. They 
are usually classed as a Telugu caste, though in some parts they 
speak Tamil and also Kanarese. Their hereditary vocation is the 
tanning and working of leather, and they are accounted the lowest 
of all in the social scale, even the Pariahs despising them. The 
factious feeling that subsists between the Right Hand and Left 
Hand castes is concentrated in the primeval feud between Pariahs 
and Chucklers, and the brawls that still occasionally give vent to 
this feeling are generally precipitated by a collision between these 
two castes. The Chucklers beat tom-toms for Karamalans, 

^ Half a dozeu divisions of " Telugu Holeyas " are giren by Mr. H. V. 
Nunjundayya in H.S.M. II, Holfcya, p. 5, and another ten in Castes and Tribest 
Vol. IV, p. 345. These two lists have only one item in conamon (Pakanati) and 
hence generalisation is imiDOSsible. An interesting account of the customs of 
the Malas by the Kev. S. Nicholson is given in the last-named Volume, pp. 



CHAP. Ill, 

suevey of 



Kaikolans and other Left Hand castes. The habits of their men 
are intemperate and insanitary, but their women are exceptionally 
beautiful, and are reputed virtuous. They are said to have no 
endogamous divisions within themselves, but they are divided into 
exogamous olans {h'lat's). As might be expected, they reverence 
the didram shrub {Cassia auriculata)^ the most valuable source of 
tanning bark, and at their marriages the idli is tied to a branch of 
this plant. They worship Madura-Viran, Mari-amma, and 
Draupadi, but their special deity is Ganganima, who, in the form 
of three pots of water, is honoured annually with a ten days' 
festival. Their name is associated with the worship of Ellamma,' 
but they do not observe the cult of Matangi, the goddess of their 
Madiga cousins, and do not, like them, dedicate their daughters as 

The jyiadigas, or leather-workers of the Telugu-Kanarese 
country, according to the Census Returns, are confined to Hosur 
Taluk, but, as already stated, it is not unlikely that many of them 
have been included among the Ghucklers. The Telugu and 
Kanarcse sections may not intermarry, and each section is divided 
into three sub-castes, according as they use an eating dish, a basket 
or a winnow to hold the food consumed at the common meal 
{buwa) at marriage.'^ Their purdhitH, known as Jambavas, are 
permitted to take to wife the daughters of the other sub-castes, 
but may not give their daughters in marriage to any but 
Jambavas, an interesting custom, as instances of hypergamy are 
rare in South India, except on the Malabar Coast. Madigas have 
their own mendicant sub-castes, Dakkulus, Mastigas, Machalas, 
etc. Their religion is characterised by the cult of the goddess 
Matangi (see p. 119), and by the consecration of an unmarried girl 
as an incarnation of that goddess. Mari-arnman is also venerated 
by the Madigas, and her worship is accompanied with an elaborate 
buffalo sacrifice. There is a traditional connection between the 
Madigas and the Gollas, Mutrachas and K5matis.' 

* Vide p. 119 tupra. 

* They are called respectively (1) Tale-Bavvamu-vallu (Tel.), Taniga-Buv- 
vada-varn (Kan.) (disli) ; (2) Gampa-Bu-vvamu-vallu (Tel.), Hedige-Buvvada-vara 
(Kan.) (basket), and (S) Chatla-Buvvamu-vallu (Tel.), Mora-Buvrada-varu (Kan.) 
(winnow) (vide E.S.M., XVII, p. 5). In Castes and Tribes, Vol. IV, p. 318, six 
endogamoDB sub-cnstes arc given. 

' Excellent notices of the Madigas are given ia Castes and Tribes, Vol. IV 
«nd in E.S.M., No. XVII, 




Agbicu fi- 



Agriculture.— Staple Crops — Dry anrl Wet. — Seasons— Mixed Crops— Rotation — 
Implements— Manures — Proteotion — Threshing— Storage— Hill Cultivation. 

Chief Crops. — I. Irrigated Crops. — Paddy — Wheat — Sugar-cane — Coco-nut — 
Areca-nut— Betel-vino — Plantains. IT. Unirrigated Crops. — (a) Cereals. 
— Eagi — Kambn — Ch6lam — Minor Cereals. (6) Pulses. — Horse-gram — 
Dhall — Avurai — Other Pulses, (c) Oil-seeds. — Gingelly — Castor — Ground- 
nut — (d) Condiments, etc.— Chillies — Coriander — Other Condiments — Vege- 
tables, (e) Special Products.— Tobacco — Cotton — Indigo— Coffee — Tea — 
Rubber— Aloe — Hemp. (/) Fruit Cultdre.— Mangoes — Inarching. 

Irrigation. — Major Works — Minor Works — Turns — Paling —Kuttais — Barur 
Project — Penukondapuram — Schemes — Kav6ri Project— Godumalai — Krish- 
nagiri — Maranda-halli — Pnla-halli — Bade Talav — Minor Schemes. 

Agricultpral Economy. — Census Returns— Kent-Roll — Rents — Sale-values — 
Land Transfers — Waste — Wages — Credit. 

The chief food grains in the District are ragi and kambu. 

Ragi is by far the most important crop in Hosur Taluk. In Tali 

Firka it covers 85 per cent, of the total area cropped. It also Staple Crops, 
takes precedence of kambu in Dharmapuri and in the southern 
half of Uttankarai. In Krishnagiri, however, in the northern half 
of Uttankarai, and in Salem, it yields the first place to kambu. 
In Attiir ragi is slightly ahead of kambu, but ia Tiruchengodu 
kambu covers over half the area cropped. Oholam (Sorghum 
vulgare) is of importance in the Talaghat taluks. " Other cereals " 
are largely grown on the poorer soils, chief among them beinf 
samai and tenai. Pulses, conspicuous among them being horse- 
gram, cover about one-fifth of the cropped area in the Baramahal 
and Balaghat taluks and in Omalur. They are rather less 
important elsewhere, falling to a little under 10 per cent, in Salem 
and Attur, Lastly, in Dharmapuri Taluk, gingelly is extensively 
grown. The subjoined statement^ shows at a glance the relative 
importance of these crops as compared with the area under paddy. 

1 Percentage of the total cropped area (including wet lands) in Pasli 
1320 (191 0-11) in the Taluks of 








Q a 







































Other Cereals 










' 9 



















CHAP. 17. 



Dry and Wet. 


Mixed Crops, 

Wet. Dry. 













Salem District, as at present constituted, is essentially a " dry " 
District. Exact accounts for Mitta villages 
are not forthcoming, but the statistics of 
Government villages afford a fair index 
of the relative proportions of dry and 
wet. The percentages of wet and dry 
land under occupation in ryotwari villa* 
ges are given in the margin. Atttir is 
the best watered Taluk and Uttankarai 
the driest. 
The distinction, however, between " Dry " and " Wet " crops 
is not inflexible. " Dry paddy " is cultivated on a small scale all 
over the District whore suitable conditions prevail, and in Meoheri 
Firka plantains are cultivated without irrigation. On the other 
hand, nigi, kambu, ch5lam, gingelly and castor are cultivated on 
lands irrigable by wells, tanks and channels, and tobacco may be 
either rain-fed or irrigated. Though a much larger return is rea- 
lised under irrigation, rain-fed paddy, plantains and tobacco are 
usually considered superior in quality. 

Roughly speakiug, the agricultural year may be divided into 
three seasons, (I) the dry season from January to mid April, (2) 
the early rains (inolasive of the mango showers and the south- 
west monsoon) from April to September, and (3) the later rains, 
(north-east monsoon) from September to December. The break 
between the two monsoons is variable in its duration and in the 
time of its occurrence. In the Talagliat and Baramahal each 
monsoon has its appropriate cultural operations. In the Balaghat, 
however, there is a tendency to merge the two seasons into one; 
the early showers are utilised for the preparation of the soil ; 
sowing is deferred till the end of July or August ; and the crops 
are matured by the north-east monsoon. Hence llosur Taluk is 
more dependent on the south-west than on the north-east monsoon, 
and if the latter is protracted the crops arc spoiled. 

An interesting feature in the agriculture of the District is the 
practice of mixing the crops grown on unirrigated lands. Two 
systems of mixed cultivation are in vogue ; one is to scatter mixed 
seed broadcast, the other to plant it in parallel furrows (sal) about 
4 feet apart, the intervening space being occupied by one or 
other of the staple food grains. By sowing a short crop and a 
long crop together, both space and labour are economised without 
exhausting the soil. The short crop matures in three or four 
months without being cramped by the slower growing long crop, 
and after the short crop is reaped, the long crop has time and 
space to mature. 



(a) The broadcast system is seen to perfection on tlie Kolli- CHAP. IV. 
malais, where, on the richest fields, in a good season, six or seven AamcDL- 

kinds of grain, (among them ragi, castor, dhall, samai, tenai, ' 

avarai and mustard), can be seen growing together in one rank 
tangle, aptly described as a " riot of contending crops/^ Elsewhere 
the mixture is not so varied. In Hosur a favourite mixture ^ is 
r&gi and mustard in the proportion of 99 : 1 , or ragi, mustard and 
tenai in the proportion of 200 : ] : ^. In Tiruchengodu Taluk 
kambu is sometimes mixed with gingelly, and sometimes with 

(h) Under the furrow system the mixed seeds are either dibbled 
or sown with the subsidiary or single seed-drill, (p. 209), The chief 
bye-crops so grown are avarai in Hosur, dhall in the Baramahal, 
and castor in the Talaghat ; but all three are grown throughout 
the District, not infrequently together in the same furrow. In 
Hosur the usual practice is to sow sals of avarai, wild-gingelly 
and kaki-cholam in fields in which ragi and mustard have been 
sown, either broadcast or with the multiple seed-drill, the crops 
being harvested in the following order: — (1) kaki-cholam, (2) 
mustard, (3) ragi, (4) wild-gingelly, (5) avarai. The main crop is 
most often ragi, but dhall is grown in rows in fields of kambu or 
of samai, and in Hosur dhall and makka-cholam (maize) are grown 
in rows with black-paddy between them, dhall and castor in rows 
with ordinary gingelly between them, and wild-gingelly in rows 
in fields of black-fjram. Usually all the seeds are sown simulta- 
neously, but sometimes the sals are sown a month in advance of 
the main crop. If the season be favourable, horse-gram can be 
sown between the sdh as a second crop after the ragi is reaped, and 
iti 8 ready for harvest about the same time as slowly maturing 
castor or dhall. 

Except in Attur Taluk, the ryots have not developed the Rotation, 
principles of rotation very far. In good seasons the best dry lands 
bear a double crop, the favourite second crops being horse-gram, 
samai or ground-nut. Horse-gram follows kambu, ragi, gingelly 
or samai. Grround-nut docs well after kambu, and samai after 
ragi, gingelly or kambu. Gringelly is also followed by green-gram 
or varagu. In Omalnr Taluk ragi or kambu is sown, in fields 
irrigable by baling, in June or July, and reaped in November, and 
is followed in December by irrigated cholam. 

In Attur Taluk the wet lands under the Sweta-nadi ordi- 
narily bear five crops in two years, and the rotation is judiciously 

1 These mixed seeds are, however, usually sown in Hosur Talak by the 
ordinary seet-drill (p. 208), and broadcast hand-sowing is oi>l7 used ou about 
lO per cent of the area cropped. 





selected. For instance, in the first season the ryots raise, in 
turn, paddj, irrigated gingelly, and kamhu, the gingclly being 
sown late in Tai (early February), and harvested late in Chittrai, 
or early in Vaiyasi (May); the kambu follows later in Vaiyasi 
(early June) and is reaped in Adi (late July). The second year's 
paddy crop is sown late iu Adi (early Aiigust) and, after it is 
harvested, the cultivation of ragi begins in Vaiyasi (iM ay- June) to 
be cropped iu Avani (August-September). The third year's paddy 
is sown in Kartigai (November-December) and harvested in 
Pangani or Chittrai (April), and this is followed early in Vaiyasi 
(late ^f«y) by a mixed crop of kambu aud indigo, the former 
harvested in Adi (July-August), and the latter iu Avani or early 
Purattasi (late August to end of September). This is followed by 
a fourth paddy crop, and then a crop of kambu, and so on with 
endless variety. 

In the Talaghat the implements of husbandry are of the type 
common to most Tamil districts, and include the ordinary wooden 
plough (Tamil = kainppaf, Telugu = madaka, Kanarese = negilu)^ 
the hand-vvoeder (Tamil = kalai-kotti or pillu-vetii, Telugu = 
chakrapdra) ^ the common hoe (Tamil — manvetfi or mammatti, 
Telugu = sanika), the crow-bar (Tamil = kadappdrai, Telugu = 
gaddri), the pick-axe (the English word is adopted with the verna- 
cular plkkdsu, Telugn guddalt), the heavy bill-hook (Tamil = 
koduvdly Telngu = mahu) for lopping branches, the akkaruvdl for 
hacking at thorns and prickly-pear, the saw-edged sickle (Tamil = 
karukkarurdl, Tolngn—kodarali) for reaping, the ordinary agri- 
cultural knife (aruvdl) and the hooked knife (kokki), attached 
to a long bamboo, for snicking leaves and twigs from trees to 
feed the flock. For levelling wet lands after ploughing and before 
sowing or transplanting, the ordinary plank {Ti\mi\=pa?'ambu, 
Telugu = asanu-/o/<?-7nasu) is used throughout the District. 

The ryots of the Balaghat use several implements which are 
unknown to those of the Talaghat. The palaki is a kind of harrow, 
used for levelling the ground after ploughing. It consists of a 
beam about 4' or 5' long, set with ten or twelve wooden teeth, 
like a large rake. To it is attached a long bamboo, to which a pair 
of bullocks are yoked. The gorrii (Kan.= kurige, Tamil = sadaik- 
kuzhal), is a seed-drill or drill-plough. It consists of a transverse 
beam, pierced at equal intervals by 10 or 12 hollow bamboos, 
which unite at the top in a wooden bowl or hopper. The lower 
ends of these bamboo tubes are jointed into other tubes, which pro- 
ject 3" or more below the beam. The ends of these projecting 
tubes are cut diagonally, so that when the beam is drawn along 
the ground by a pair of bullocks, they serve at once to make the 



CHAP. 17, 


furrow, and introduce the seeds with which the bowl or hopper is 
fed. Sometimes a subsidiary tube and hopper are affixed to the 
extreme end of the beam, or dragged behind the seed-drill by 
means of a cord, 3' or 4' long, attached to the centre of the beam, 
for the purpose of sowing a sal or row of pulses. Occasionally 
the sals are sown by a plough with a single tube and lioppor 
attached. The gunfakai or weeding-plough \ consists of a beam, 
fitted with from 4 to C iron teeth, each tooth about 2" wide, with 
about 1" between them. The beam is drawn like a plough by 
bullocks over the ground, the teeth pointing somewhat forwards, 
and not straight down like a rake. This operation leaves the 
ground perfectly clean, except where the drills have deposited the 
seed. For hand- weeding the Hosur ryots use, not the kalai-Jcoitu of 
the Talaghat, but an instrument called dokadu-para (Kan. —orevdre^ 
or Hind. = Tcurpa), something like a narrow shoe-last in shape, 
shod with a broad flat piece of iron at the toe, and pierced with a 
slit at the instep to admit the fingers into a sort of hilt. The 
instrument thus grasped is exactly at the proper angle to the 
ground, and the weeders, holding this in the right hand, work 
down between the drills, loosening the roots with the dokadu- 
pdra, and pulling up the weeds with the loft hand. Balaghat far- 
mers also use mallets (Tam. koitdppuli, Tel. kodatalu) for breaking 
sods by hand, arid to make the ground even ; a hurdle {etta), with 
its underside covered with thorns and twigs, is sometimes drawn 
over the fields. 

In the Baramahal the implements used are mostly of the Tala- 
ghat tjpe, but the palaki, gorru, guntaka and dokadu-pdra are by 
no means unknown. 

In the Talaghat and Baramahal the favourite mode of manur- Manures, 
ing land, both wet and dry, is to pen cattle or sheep on it. Green 
manures, of several kinds (see p. 256), are used for wet lands. 
One of the most valuable of green manures is indigo, but its use 
is confined to Atttir Taluk. In the Balaghat the penning of cattle 
and sheep is comparatively rare, the ryots preferring to use their 
cowdung in the form of brattis as fuel. Their household and farm- 
yard refuse, street sweepings, ashes, etc., they store in pits just 
outside the village. These pits are about 8' or 10' square and 6' 
deep, and there are generally a couple of rows of them. Each 
household has its own pit, and no ryot dare pilfer from another's 
pit. The pit system has its own advantages, for the manure is 
protected from sun and wind, and its fertilising properties are 
improved by the retention of moisture. Tank-bed silt is used 

' Also called guntilca or guntuva, and in Kanarcse, Tcunte, 





Protection of 

CHAP. IV. throughoat the District to improve the soil of both dry and wet 
fields, and in some localities pig-dung, purchased from Oddas, is 
highly valued. 

The ryot has to protect his crops against the depredations of 
beasts and birds, and also against the Evil Eye. On the hills, and 
in the neighbourhood of forest reserves, fields are froquontly fen- 
ced with tberns and cut scrub, but fencing is usually dispensed 
with elsewhere. Wild pigs are most destructive of ragi, kambu, 
and samai, but it is said they will not touch horse-gram or gingelly ; 
hence, for fields subject to their inroads, the latter crops are pre- 
ferred. Birds are seared by clappers, and on the hills it is the 
practice to suspend to a loug pole a bell or inverted kerosine oil 
tin, with a slip of wood inside it attached to a winnow in such a 
way that it rattles with every puff of wind. A similar purpose is 
served by tying to a tall pole a dead crow, a strip of blanket or 
cloth, or a dried plantain leaf, which flaps in the breeze. Through- 
out the District large priapic figures of straw or rags, with out- 
stretched arms, and an inverted chatty for a head, are to be seen 
in the fields, their function being apparently, partly to scare birds, 
partly to avert the Evil Eye, and partly, as in ancient Greece 
and Rome, to induce productivity. The Evil Eye is also averted 
from the crop by decorating all conspicuous rocks and boulders 
with white discs, or grotesque white figures, or whitewashing them 
altogether. Whitewashed chatties, with or without black spots, or 
palmyra leaves stuck in the ground points uppermost, are equally 
efficient, and occasionally the skull of an ox on top of a post serves 
the same purpose. In short, judging from the precautions taken, 
the Evil Eye is the woi-st danger the ryot has to contend with. 

Threshing. The processes of threshing are similar to those of adjoining 

districts. Paddy, and other grain which is readily detached from 
the stalk, is first of all tied into small bundles and beaten by hand 
{kai-adi) on the threshing floor. It is then thrown loosely into 
heaps and beaten with sticks (kol^adi). This process is often 
applied to pulses, gingelly and other pod-seeds, The most 
thorough mode of threshing, however, is to tread it out with oxen, 
and this method is applied to almost all graius, especially to those 
which, like ragi and kambu, are difficult to extract. 

Storage. The Talaghat ryots store their grain in little cylindrical 

granaries with a conical roof. These are built on stones, across 
which beams are laid. Above the beams are thorns, then kambu 
stalks, then mud plaster. The roof is thatched with kambu stalks. 
or sometimes with palmyra leaves. The walls are of dhall stalks, 
plastered inside with mud. The granaries are sometimes divided 
inside into four compartments by mud partitions, which cross at 


right angles. Access to the interior is obtained by an opening in CHAP. IV. 
the conical roof. Similar structures arc usod in the Baramahal. In Aoricul- 


the Balaghat grain is often stored in gigantic jars of earthenware ' 

{tombni). A distinctive feature of the Balaghat and the Northern 
and Western Baramahill are the ragi pits {piitWramn) , which are 
exeavatod in the ruhbl/ subsoil, seemingly impervious to damp ; 
they usually have a small manhole on top, are some 8' or 10' 
deep, and at the bottom average 18' wide, the bottom being flat and 
the walls and top forming a dome. Ragi so stored will remain 
for many years without spoiling, but it is dangerous to enter a pit 
till it has been properly ventilated on account of the carbon 
dioxide which is apt to accumulate within. These pits are less 
used than formerly, partly owing to so many villages being depo- 
pulated, and partly owing to the facilities created by railways and 
roads for disposing of the surplus produce of a good harvest. 

Cultivation on the hills differs but little from that of the Hill Oulti- 
plains, so far as dry crops are concerned. The Malaiyalis of the Tj^^^ " 
Shevaroys are extremely slovenly in their methods ; they are 
in fact demoralised by the good wages offered in coffee estates, 
and they often leave their own fields fallow, and work on the 
estates instead. Elsewhere, and especially on the Kolii-malais, 
cultivation is scrupulously clean, and on the best lands finer crops 
are grown than can be seen anywhere on the plains. The fields 
have to bo carefully terraced, and the cost of terracing is expressed 
in terms of grain. A sharp distinction is recognised between 
ulavu-kddu, or land which can be ploughed, and kottu-kddu, or land 
which can only be cultivated with a hoe. 

Wet cultivation is to be found only on the KoUi-malais, (,2) Wet. 
where some 500 odd acres are classed as wet. Some of this 
nanjai is situated at a very high level, and depends for its 
moisture on the water which oozes from the hillside ; some lies in 
the hollows of the valleys, where the drainage from the higher 
levels forms a water-logged morass ; and occasionally, at still 
lower levels, where the drainage water emerges from the quagmire 
and cuts its way through firmer soil, the streamlets are dammed, 
and little channels are dug to conduct the water to strips of 
stream-side paddy -flats. The high-level nanjai is fairly firm, and 
most of it can be ploughed. The swampy low-level paddy- 
flats are often full of boggy pits in which the cultivator sinks up 
to his armpits or even to his neck ; ploughing is impossible, and, in 
order to transplant seedlings, the labourer must sit on a plank. 
Two crops are sometimes grown on lands that can be ploughed, but 
the low-level nan/(72 is more retentive of moisture, and single crop 
in these fields yields more than a double crop at higher levels. 




Chief Crops. 

I. Irrigated, 

The area under paddy cultivation in Fasli 1320 was a little 
over 180,000 acres, of which about 102,000 lay in the Tala- 
ghat. and nearly 63,000 in the Baramahal. Salem had the largest 
area, with over 43,000 acres. Attur carae next with nearly 
30,000. Then followed in order, Dharraapuri (26,000), Krishna- 
giri (23,000), Tirucheng5du (21,000), Hosur (15,500), IJttan- 
karai (13,400), and Oraalur (8,000 odd). 

The methods of paddy cultivation in Salem District do not 
differ materially from those of the districts ^ adjoining. There is a 
similar bewildering list of different varieties, a similar general 
classification into long-crop and short-crop paddies, and similar 
puzzling diversities of method and of seed-time and harvest in 
different localities. Theoretically" there are three seasons for culti- 
vation. — (1) Right Season, also called kdldvadi : — Vaiyasi, Ani and 
half of Adi (from the middle of May to the end of July) ; (2) 
Middle Season : the latter half of Adi with Avani and Pnrattasi, 
(from the beginning of August to the end of the first half of 
October) ; (3) " Hot Weather" : Kartigai, Margali and Tai, (from 
the middle of November to the middle of February), the harvest 
being in the dry season. The month of Arpisi (October-Novem- 
ber) is expressly excluded, and paddy cultivation in that month 
is proverbially unlucky. Again, paddy may be raised (1) entirely 
by irrigation (" wet " method or seitu-kdl), (2) partly by 
irrigation and partly without it (" mixed " method or puzhudi-kdl), 
and (3) entirely as a dry crop. Again, paddy is sometimes sown 
broadcast, and sometimes transplanted ; sometimes the seeds are 
sown " dry ", and sometimes they are wetted first. 

Long-crop paddy is ordinarily called samba, and matures in 
from 5 to 8 months ; short-crop paddies are classed as kdr 
(four months) and kio'uvai or kuru (three months). Usually the 
kdr or kuruvai crop is the earlier crop, being cultivated in Chittrai 
or Vaiyasi (April to June) ; and the sambd crop is planted from Ani 
to Avani (June to September)^. In the Talaghat, hot- weather kdr 

* See Triehinoipoly District Gazetteer (1907), pp. 132-6, South Arcot District 
Gazetteer {1906), pp. 115-7, Mysore Gazetteer (1897), Vol. I, pp. 131-144, North 
Arcot District Manual (1895), Vol. I, pp. 260-2, Coimhatore District Manual 
(1887), pp. 214-6. 

* Much of what follows in taken from a treatise on Paddy Cultivation in th« 
District by Mr. C. Veukatiichiiriar of Kadattur. 

* In Salem and Omalttr a kdr crop is eown in Chittrai or Vaiyasi (April to 
Jone), and harvested in Avani (August-September), the second crop (samhd) is 
sown in Avani or Purattasi (September-October) and harvested in Margali or Tai 
(December-February). In Atttir the seasons are different, a first crop, either 
idr or sada-samha is sown in Adi (July -August), and harvested in Margali (De- 
cember-January), and a second {Mr or kuruvai) is sown in Tai (Jan nary- Febru- 
ary), and harvested in Vaiyasi (May-June), this of course being possible only in 
cases where irrigation is supplemented by wells. 



18 knowu as Mdsl-kdr, and in the northern Baramahal the kdr crops CHAP. iv. 
are distinguished as mukkdr and pikkdr (fore-Mr and after-Aw), Chief Crops. 
the latter being, like the Mdsi-kdr, sown in Margali. Kuruvai 
crops are sown about a month earlier than kdr crops, and mature 
rather more rapidly.^ Oulj under exceptionally favourable condi- 
tions, such as exist under some of the best irrigation sources of 
Attur, Tirachengodu and Salem, and under the Pennaiyar^ can two 
crops of paddy be raised in one season,^ 

Various kinds of " dry " paddy, under the general name of 
puzhudi-nel, are grown to a limited extent in all the taluks. On 
the Shevaroys it is sown in Chittrai and matures in 4 months, in 
Attur it is sown (usually in saline soils) in Adi (July- August), and 
requires 8 months ; in the Baramahal it is sown in Vaiyasi or 
Ani (May-July), and harvested in Margali or Tai (December- 
February). In Hosur there are two varieties. (1) Pedda-hairu- 
vadlu, a 6 or 7 months' crop, is sown on black sandy soil so 
situated that it retains moisture for some months after the rains 
have ceased. It is also sown in wet lands in June, when there is no 
water in the tanks, and is irrigated when the crop is 3 months old. 
(2) JValla-vadlu, or " black paddy," is purely rain-fed and does not 
depend on subsoil moisture. It is also a 6 months' crop, and is 
sown like Bairu-vadlu in April or May. Both varieties are sown 
broadcast, and are weeded 2 months after sowing, the weeding 
being repeated once or twice, at intervals of a month. The rice of 
both kinds, when cooked, is of a reddish colour, and is much 
esteemed by Brahmans ; and both kinds are much in demand for 
the manufacture of avul (pounded rice) in Dharmapuri and Krish- 

Wheat {Triticum sativum =g6dumai) was cultivated in the time Wheat, 
of Eead in small quantities on the " Tingrecotta Hills " (Chitteris), 
and the exclusive privilege of buying up and selling the crop was 
farmed out by Grovernment. At present it is a crop of very little 
importance^ only about 300 acres, mostly in Salem Taluk, being 
cultivated, as a dry crop on the Shevaroys, and under well-irriga- 
tion on the plains. 

Sugar-cane (Saccharum offieinarum) is a crop of small impor- Sagar-caae. 
tance, the area totalling about 2,300 acres, scattered throughout 
the District. It favours black clays and black loams, and, as it 

1 Jrwvaiftam (Sixtieth) ftwrtirai, so called because it matures within 60 days 
of transplanting. 

* Also round Pennagaram, where two, and sometimes three, crops of 'pilan 
samhd are sometimes raised in a season, each crop being four months on the 
ground. The first crop is sown in Vaiyasi or Ani and the second in Kartigai or 




Chief Chops, 



exhausts the soil, two crops should not be raised on the same ground 
in consecutive years. 

Coco-nut Palms {Cocos niiciftra) are estimated to cover nearly 
9,000 acres, of which about 3,700 are in the Baraiuahal, aud about 
the same area in the Talaghat. Krisbnngiri Talnk stands first with 
over 2,500 acres, Omalur next with 1,700 acres, and Hostir third 
with 1,400 acres. Local varieties reported are senna-pdftiram, 
sevvennir, sewalanir, kevuli-pattiram^ but the kind almost univer- 
sally cultivated is the common green variety. 

Areca-nut, {Areca catechu = Tamil pakku or kamugu, Telugu, 
vakka or pokd), covers about 2,200 acres, of which about 1,000 are 
in Hostir Taluk, (chiefly in Donkani-kota and Tali Firkas), and 
nearly 900 in Attur. Though the area under cultivation is insig- 
nificant, the crop is most lucrative. Areca-nut requires a perennial 
water-supply, and is not usually manured, but in Atttir Taluk 
castor-oil pundk and pig-dung are sometimes applied, the quantity 
being one measure - per tree in the 4th and 5th years, and one or 
two vallams ^ after the fifth year. Sometimes the seeds are sown in 
nurseries, (located in a betel-garden, for preference), and planted 
out after three, or, in Attur, six, mouths. Sometimes transplanting 
is dispensed with, aud the seeds are sown on the site selected for 
the garden. In the north the plants should be about 6 feet apart, 
or about 1,000 per acre ; in Attur 8 feet apart or from COO to 650 
plants per acre. In Attur sowing takes place in Arpisi or 
Kajtigai (October-December), in the north during or after the 
Makha rains (August). It is customary to grow areca-nut on 
land previously cultivated with betel- vine or paddy, but it may 
also be grown on virgin soil, provided that plantains are planted 
a year beforehand to ensure shade. When a betel-garden is 
selected as a site for an areca-nut tope, the latter is sown about 2 
years before the betel-vine is expected to die out, and the vinos 
are afterwards replaced by plantains. A few fruit trees (orange, 
lime, guava, jack, etc.,) are often planted in the garden, which is 
protected from the wind by a fringe of coco-nut palms. Before 
sowing areca-nut, the ground is loosened to a depth of 18", and 
the clods are broken with a short club. If the soil is very heavy, 
(and areca-nut prefers clayey soils), the land is subjected to a 
preliminary ploughing. It is then flooded, and the seeds arc sown 
in the damp earth. In Hosur Taluk it is believed that the 
Goddess Gauramma takes up her abode in areca-topes, and she 

^ A small variety used specially for pujd. It is grown in the SwOta-nadi 

* Oae measure = 132 tolas. ^ One vallam = 264 tolas. 


must bo propitiated by the sa orifice of a sheep or goat before the OHAP. IV. 
crop is harvested. Chikf Crops. 

The area under botol- vine {Piper betle) ia a little over 1,100 Botel-vine. 
acres, of which nearly 400 acres lie in Hosur Taluk, and most of 
the rest in Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Salom. In the early days 
of British rule the right to cultivate betel was licensed and farmed 
out by Government. 

The two chief varieties of betel are distinguished as (1) white 
(velim-koili) and (2) black (karun-kodi). The former is commonest 
in the Baramahal, the latter in the Balaghat. Other varieties are 
(3) kalptlra or kalpura-kodi, (said to be a variety of vellai-kodi), (4) 
joligai (an inferior variety), and (5) pavala-hodi. Vellai-kcdi is 
also known in Dharmapuri as sahkarai-kodi. 

Betel is grown on clayey soil on which paddy has been 
previously raised ; land previously cultivated with sugar-cane or 
plantains should be avoided. The presence of lime in the soil is 
considered favourable to growth. 

The area covered by plantains totals about 1,800 acres, Plantains, 
of which more than half lie in Hosur (540) and Omalur (437). 
The varieties most commonly grown in the Talaghat are (1) rastdli^ 
a rather insipid fruit, some 4" to 4^" in length ; (2) navaram, some- 
times described as a variety of rastdli ; (8) monthan, a big thick 
fruit as much as 7" long and 3" thick, and (4) sdmha-vdlai, said 
to be a variety of monthan, but sweeter and more wholesome. Less 
common are (5) pachat-nddam, in size intermediate between rastdli 
and monthan and green when ripe ; (6) uiiram, similar in size to 
pachai-nddam, but red when ripe ; (7) 7nada-vdiat\ also GsMedpeyanf 
about the same size as pachai-nddam ; (8) pu-mlai or sugantham, 
a cheap variety, about the same length as rastdli, but more slender ; 
(9) nandu-kalai, a smaller fruit about 3-^" in length ; (10) nandan 
(rare) ; (11) nUangam (rare). 

The following varieties are reported from Hosur Taluk : — (1) 
ydlaki (Kan.), sugantham (Tel.), but apparently not the same as the 
sugantham of the Talaghat : it is described as a small slender 
fruit, light coloured and of good flavour, with from 80 to 120 
plantains to a bunch ; (2) puttu, a short thick fruit, light 
coloured or yellow according to soil ; valued for flavour, and also 
for medicinal purposes, especially for internal fever ; bearing about 
80 to 130 plantains to the bunch ; (3) pa66a (Tel.), f/elai (Kan.), 
kdy (Tarn.) 5 a large green fruit of good flavour, with about 40 to 
80 plantains to a bunch ; (4) chandra, the sewdlai of the Tamils, 
a large red fruit of delicate flavour yielding once in 3 years ; it 
bears from 60 to 120 plantains to the bunch ; rare ; (5) rdjd, a largo 
yellow fruit of excellent flavour ; 50 to 100 plantains to the 

Si 6 saleM. 

CHAP. IV. ijmjoii . yare ; (6) rasa^ similar to sugantham and valued as medicine ; 

very rare ; (7) nallarati (Tel.), the karu-mlai of the Tamils, a 

very small fruit, slightly acid in taste and of dark colour ; bears 
from 200 to 400 plantains to the bunch ;• called also thoranii from 
the thickness of its stem ; (8) hudu (Kan.), hudadhi-arati (Tel.), an 
insipid fruit, grown chiefly for its leaves ; bears 20 to 50 plantains 
to the bunch ; (9) madhuranyi, (said to be the same as the Tamil 
monfJian), a large fruit of indifferent flavour, used as a vegetable ; 
bears from 50 to 100 plantains to a bunch; (10) yenuga (Tel.), 
gnbbarati (Kan.), yanai (Tam.), Anglice "elephant", so-called 
from a fancied resemblance which its bunches boar to an elephant's 
trunk ; grows to a height of about 3' only, the bunches, which ojirry 
from 100 to 200 plantains each, touching the ground ; fruit small 
and of indifferent flavour. 

Plantains are usually planted in Tai, Adi, or Chittrai, and the 
crop is gathered from 12 to 18 months after planting. The 
plants are allowed to continue for three years, after which a change 
to another crop is desirable. 

Mooheri Firka is noted for its rain-fed plantain cultivation. 
The varieties so cultivated are mont/ian, navaram^ nandani and 
nllangam. The site selected is usually the gently sloping flank of 
some low plateau ; the slope is crossed by strong artificial ridges 
of stone and mud, which temporarily obstruct' such rain-water as 
may run off the higher ground. There is no particular month 
for beginning this cultivation. The land is ploughed 8 or 10 times 
after a shower, and pits are dug 6' to 8' apart, and 1' or \\' deep, 
so that the entire root may be embedded flush with the surface. 
A heavy rain is then awaited, and after it the roots are planted 
and covered up with earth and manure. About 400 plants are set 
in an acre. The first crop is harvested after the lapse of a year, 
and the plants are allowed to continue for three years, sometimes 
for more. Side shoots are lopped every three or four months. 

The rocky slopes west of Pail-Nad on the Kolli-malais are 
full of moisture from natural springs, and advantage is taken of 
the fact to cultivate plantains, mostly the common rastdtt, on the 
cliff side ; the Kolli-malais are also noted for choicer varieties, in 
particular the karu-vdlat, or black plantain, which realises as 
much as Rs. 2 per bunch, and the big red pattu-vdlai. 

Plantains are an important item in Indian economy ; the fruit, 
when ripe, is a wholesome item of diet ; unripe plantains are 
boiled and eaten as vegetables. The succulent stem is also boiled 
and eaten by Brahmans, who consider it as a potent digestive^ ; the 

' So potent that it will digest shone, and is tBerefore a valuable prophylaotic 
against stone in the bladder and kindred troubles. 

agricultuke and ierigation. 


leaf and "hark" are -used by the higher castes as food-plates; 
it is only the fibre that has not yet been exploited in Salem 

Eagi, {Ehusine coracafia = Tamil kevar or driyam), covers an 
area of nearly 334,000 acres, of which 136,700 are in the Bara- 
mahal, 9U,700 in Hosur, and 97,600 in the Talaghat 'J'aluks. 

The principal varieties recognised in Hosur Taluk, where ragi 
cultivation is a fine art, are (1) gidda-rdgi and (2) dodda ipedda or 
periya) rdcji, the former a dwarf plant characterised by short 
thick spikes, the latter a taller variety with long thick spikes ; 
gidda-rdgi takes about 4 months to mature, dodda-rdgi from 4^ 
to 5 months. Each of these classes is divided into numerous 
sub- varieties, e.g., tella or bili-gidda-rdgz, a short " white " variety ; 
hasurii-{l!e\ng\i pasaru) gidda-rdgz or hasaru-kambi (yellow or 
green stalked) ; nalla-gidda-rdgi, a short black variety ; tella-dodda- 
rdgt, a tall white kind, etc. Jen-muUu-rdgi is a sub-variety 
of dodda-rdgi with rather elongated and compact spikes. Majjige- 
rdgi is a yellowish variety of the gidda-rdgi type. Kaddi-rdgi 
is distinct from either dodda-rdgi or gidda-rdgi, the spikes being 
long, but thinner than those of dodda-rdgi. It has two sub- 
varieties, (fl) kappu-haddi-rdgi (black), and (b) bili-kaddi-rdgi 
(white). Measure for measure, kaddi-rdgi ^ is heavier than that of 
any other variety of ragi except jen-muttu, the grain being small 
and dense, while the grain of ordinary ragi is large and less com- 
pact. Chemma-rdgi is a term used for grain which has been 
moistened by the percolation of water into storage pits. In the 
Talaghat ragi is roughly classed as kattu-driyam and ttwal-dyriam, 
the former a dry crop and the latter grown under irrigation. 
" Dry " ragi in the south is usually of the short or gidda-rdgi 
type, though periya-rdgi is also grown. 

In Hosur the ragi fields are ploughed three or four times during 
the rains of May and June. The first ploughing is usually done 
with a new plough, and pujd is made over the bulls and the imple- 
ments of husbandry to be employed. After the third or fourth 
ploughing the land is well manured, and the manure is then 
ploughed in. The manure used is sheep or cattle-dung, farmyard 
and household refuse, and the silt frojn tank-beds. Fifty cartloads 
of manure are sometimes applied to one acre of land. Then the soil 
is thoroughly pulverised with a harrow {palaki). Sowing usually 
takes place from the middle of July to the end of August. Seed 
is sown broadcast, or by the drill-plough (gorru), it germinates in 
three days, and in fifteen days the field is green. Fifteen days 
after sowing the fields are hoed over with the weeding-ploogh 

Chief Cbofb, 

II. Unirki- 


A. Cekkals. 

Tbe word kaddi means a small stick. 

^18 SALE^f. 

CHAP. IV. (guniaka), and hoeing is repeated a week or so later. One month 
OaiKF Cbops. after tlie second hoeing the fields are thoroughly weeded by hand 
with the dokadu-para. A shower one month after sowing, two or 
three showers in the second month, when the stem and leaves are 
forming, and a good rain in the third month to assist the formation 
of the seed spikes, suffice to secure a good crop. In the southern 
taluks the procedure is very similar, but tbe palaki, gorru, guntaka 
and dokadu-para are not used, and the fields are manured by pen- 
ning cattle and sheep on them, and shifting the pens from place to 
place, till the whole field is saturated, a process that sometimes 
continues for six months, from Tai to V^aiyasi (January to June). 
In Salem and Omalur Taluks ragi is usually transplanted, an 
expedient exceedingly rare in dry cultivation ; the seedlings are 
taken from the seed-bed 3 or 4 weeks after sowing, and are 
planted 9" apart. The ground is hoed about one month after 
transplanting, (or after sowing, if transplanting is not resorted 
to), and weeded once or twice in the second mouth. Throughout 
the District Adi (July-August) is the chief month for sowing, 
and transplanting takes place after the Makha rains of Avani. 

The crop is cut in November and December, or even later, 
from four to five months after sowing. It is usual, before harvest, 
to sacrifice a fowl or goat, to mingle its blood with boiled rice, and 
scatter the mixture over the fields. Sometimes the first handful 
reaped is sprinkled with miik or ghee. In Hostir the stalks are 
cut olose to the ground, and left in situ for four or five days to dry 
in the sun. They arc then tied into small bundles, stacked for a 
month or two, and then spread over the threshing-floor, and when 
the stalks are thoroughly dried, the whole is trodden by cattle. 
The straw is then removed, and the grain is thoroughly winnowed. 
In the Talaghat it is often the practice to cut the heads only, to 
dry them two or three days in the sun, and then store them in 
heaps or in a closed room. The interval between reaping and 
thre.shing is rather shorter than in Hosur (from 15 to 30 days). 
The stalks are cut a week or ten days after the heads. On the 
Kolli-malais the stalks are not out at all, but are burnt as they 
stand. IJagi straw is a very important cattle fodder. 

In Hosur a kind of flour known us vada-rdgi is prepared by 
first soaking the grain in water for a night, and then spreading it 
out to dry ; by this process tbe grain, when ground, can bo easily 
freed from husk, and is whiter in colour than ordinary ragi flour, 
Tuval-rdg't} is the name given throughout the District for those 
varieties of ragi which are grown under well-irrigation. Tuval- 
ragi is sown in seed-beds, and transplanted about 20 or 30 days after 

^ Also called natta-rdgi, and, in Attur, puvddam-kSvaru. 


sowing, the seedlings boing set from 4" to 9" apart. It is irrigated CHAP. I v. 
once or twice a week, according to soil and season, and is reaped Chief Crops. 
within two or three months after transplanting. Being indcpcnd- 
ent of rain, Tuval-rdgi can be cultivated at all seasons of the year. 

Kambu {Pennisetum typhoideum, Hind, bdjra) exceeds even ragi Kamba. 
in importance as a food-grain, being cultivated to the extent of 
nearly .'384,000 acres, of which over 257,000 are in the Talaghat' 
and about 115,000 in the Baramahal ; the area in Tiruchongodu 
Taluk is over 162,000 acres. It is particularly a favourite grain 
with Kaikolar weavers, who use it not only as a food, but also for 
making kauji as size for weaving. On dry lands kambu is grown 
as a first crop, being sown with the rains of Vaiyasi (May-June), 
and harvested in about four months in Purattasi (September- 
October). Some varieties, however, have different seasons. Irri- 
gated kambu is a speciality of the Talaghat, where, on good soil 
and in a favourable season, it can be harvested in ninety days. 
In Attur Taluk kambu is harvested on wet lands any time 
between August and February. 

The chief varieties are : — 

(1) Perun -kambu ; sown in Ohittrai or Vaiyasi (April-June) 
and harvested from Adi-Purattasi (July-October). In Omalur 
perun-kcwibu is sometimes sown in Purattasi or Arpisi (September- 
November), and harvested in Margali or Tai (December-February) ; 

(2) KuUan-kamhu, or arisi-kambu, which matures more 
rapidly than other varieties, (3 to Sg- months), sown in Ohittrai 
(April-May) and harvested in Adi (July- August) ; 

(3) Kdsi-kambu or perun-kdsi-kambu (Ani to Purattasi; ; 

(4) Kommai or karu-kattan-kambu, sown in Purattasi 
(September -October) and harvested in Margali (December-Janu- 
ary). Sown sometimes in a seed-bed and transplanted after thirty 
days or so. 

Other less common varieties are kottu-kanibUy pumudi-kambti^ 
and sondchalam-kambu. 

Kambu flourishes on red loams and sands. The ground is 
ploughed three or four times before sowing. The manure used is 
the dung of cattle and sheep, and on better soils animals are 
penned before ploughing begins. The fields are usually ploughed 
a month or so after sowing, to prevent the grain from growing too 
thickly. Kambu is supposed to exhaust the soil, and should not 
be grown more frequently than in alternate years on the same 
field. It is often sown on land previously cultivated with ragi ; 
horse-gram and black -gram succeed it. It is sown mixed with 
nari-payir, or between rows of dhall, avarai or castor. In Omalur 
Taluk, when irrigated, it is followed by cholam. In Attur Taluk 
kambu and indigo are put down as a mixed crop on wet lands in May 



CHAP. IV. or June, the kambu being harvested in August or September, and 
Chief Crops, the indigo in October and November. When harvested, the heads 
only are cut off, the stalks being left standing. In Salem and 
Tiruehengddu kambu is reaped twice ; after the heads which first 
mature have been removed, secondary heads matare, and are cut 
15, 20 or 30 days later. After harvest the stalks are carefully 
tied into stacks, to prevent rotting in the rains. Kambu stalks 
are the most valued thatching material in use in the District. 
Superstition forbids that the heads, when cut, should be allowed 
to lie pointing towards the north. The heads are thrashed by 
driving bullocks over them as soon after reaping as the weather 
permits ; if the weather is dry enough tbe heads may be thrashed 
on the very day of harvest. The grain is soaked with water 
before it is husked. The flour is prepared either as a thin gruel 
with butter-milk or water, or as a thick porridge with dhall, 
avarai or brinjal. 
Cholam. Ch5lam {Soryhum I'ulgare = Telugu Jonnalu and Jliudnstani 

Juar) is cultivated on over 96,000 acres, of which more than 
73.000 are in the Talaghat (Salem 28,600, Tiruchengodu 20,000, 
Attur 17,400), and only 20,000 in the Baramahfil (tjttankarai, 
11,200). It is both a "dry" and a "wet" crop, and its seed- 
time and harvest and the methods of its cultivation vary so greatly, 
that a synoptic treatment of the subject is hardly possible. 
Eoughly speaking, cholam in one form or another is being sown 
and harvested all the year roand in various parts of the District. 
The chief varieties grown as food-grains are popularly distin- 
guished as red cholam and white cholam. In Omalur and Attur 
these are sown as a second crop on irrigable land in Margali 
(December- January ) , on fields previously cultivated with kambu, 
ragi, paui-varagu, etc., and reaped four months later in Cliittrai 
(April-May). It should be irrigated once in from 4 to 7 days. 
In Tiruchengodu, Panguni (March- April), Vaiyasi (May- June) 
and Arpisi (October-November) are said to be the months for 
sowing, in Salem, Purattasi (September-October). Black cholam 
{karun-cholam) and kakJiay or talai'virtchdn-cholam are invariably 
rain-fed, and arc grown for fodder rather than for grain. 

The Mki'cholam (also called black or Icari-cholim) of Hosur 
Taluk is likewise grown for fodder ; it is usually planted along 
with mustard, wild gingelly, avarai, etc., in rows in ragi fields; 
it is said to differ from the hdkTcay cholam of the Talaghat. 
Makka-choiam is not cholam at all, but maize (Zen mayi'), a crop 
of small importance in the District, covering less than 400 acres. 
When ripe for harvest, cholam is cut close to the ground, and 
the grain is trodden out by bullocks from 3 to 8 days after cutting ; 
it is then dried in the sun for 2 or 3 days and stored in granarie**- 




When required for use, the grain is moistened by sprinkling water CHAP. IV. 
over it, and then pounded in a pestle and mortar. The stalks and Chief Crops. 
husks are used for fodder. 

Minor cereals, of which the chief are (1) silmai, (2) varagu, 
(3) tenai, are items of no mean importance in the agricultural 
economy of the District. Though the yield per acre is small, and 
the grain is not nutritious, the cost of cultivation is trivial, the 
growth rapid and the crop hardy. Hence a large area of poor 
soils can be cultivated with samai and varaga, which otherwise 
would be left waste ; the ryot stands to lose very little in cost 
of seed and labour, and he may, if the season is favourable, realise 
a crop of grain and straw that will suffice for a year's domestic 
requirements, and enable him to dispose of his more valuable 
products for ready cash. 

The most important pulse is horse-gram (= Tamil hollu— B. Pulses. 
Hindustani fcwZ^i ; Dolichos biflorus). In the Talaghat it covers Horse-grara. 
over 96,000 acres, in the Bararaahal 106,000, in the Balaghat a 
little over 20,000. " Eather desert your wife,^' runs the proverb, 
"than fail to sow gram on waste land." Its power of maturing 
with very little rain, and, after it has got a fair start, of subsist- 
ing almost solely on the dews of January, render it invaluable as 
a second crop. It flourishes on relatively poor soils ; on richer 
soils, or under heavy rains, it runs to leaf and the flowers are few. 
It is usually put down in September or October, as soon as kambu, 
samai, or gingelly is harvested, the ground being ploughed and 
the seed sown broadcast ; manure is not necessary. A light 
shower is enough to cause the seed to germinate, and a few more 
showers are required when the leaves are forming ; dew does the 
rest. The harvest is in January or February, or even March, 
about four months after sowing. The plants, when mature, are 
pulled up by the roots, and dried for ten days or so, and are then 
trodden by cattle. The loaves and pods are valued as fodder. 
Horse-gram is eaten by the poorer ryots of the Baramahal, 
especially when there is a shortage in the ordinary food grains. 

Dhall or red-gram {Caj'anus indicus = Tamil tuvarat) comes Dhall. 
next to horse -gram in importance. It covers an area of nearly 
19,000 acres, of which nearly 10,000 are in the Talaghat, over 
8,000 in the Baramahal, and about 1,000 in the Balaghat. 
Krishnagiri is the chief dhall-growing taluk, with a total of 
nearly 6,000 acres. Dhall is usually grown in rows 4' apart 
in the ragi fields of the Baramahal and Talaghat ; in the Balaghat 
it is sometimes associated with gingelly (p. 207). It is a seven- 
month crop, sown in Ani (June- July), and harvested in Tai 
(January-February). It is a kist-paying product ; after reaping 
it is stored in the pod, and broken and sold in instalments as the 

222 SALEM, 

CHAP. IV. market suits. The stalks are used in Salem Taluk for tlio 

Chief Ceops. construction of small rat-proof granaries. 

Avarai~ Mochai or avarai {Doh'chos lablab) is one of the most valued 

catch crops of the Hosur ragi fields, and is sown in rows, some- 
times with castor and mustard ; its leaves are said to fertilise the 
soil. It also thrives on the Shevaroys and Kolli-malais. It is 
sown in July or August along with ragi, the seeds being dibbled 
in ; one month after the sowing, the soil is hoed over, and one 
mouth after hoeing it is weeded. Avarai is a six months' crop; 
its growth does not interfere with the growth of the ragi, but 
after the riigi is harvested, it begins to spread like a jungle creeper. 
The blossoms and pods mature with the heavy dews of December 
and January, but the pods are not harvested while green ; when 
the pods are thoroughly dried, i.e., by the end of January or early 
February, the creepers are cut and stored for a few days, after 
which the stalks arc beaten to separate the pods ; the pods are 
then dried separately, and trodden by bullocks to extract the beans, 
which are then mixed with ash, fried, split in a stone mill, again 
dried and separated from the husk. The split beans are then 
ready for consumption. Three varieties are grown (1) Pedda- 
or Erra-Anumulu^ (2} Saniga- or Chinna-Anumulu, {'6) Ganda- 
Sanigalu. or Telia- Anumulu. 

Other Among the pulses of minor importance may be mentioned 

Pulses. black-gram (a little under 10,000 acres), green-gram (about 9,000 

acres) and Bengal-gram (about 5,000 acres). The cultivation of 
these crops fluctuates, and they appear to be declining in popula- 
rity. The chief taluks for black-gram {I'/iaseoIus radiaius = 
Tamil ulundu) are tlttankarai and Omalur ; for green-gram 
{PhaseoluB mungo- Tamil pachai-payiru) Krishnagiri and Dhar- 
mapuri ; and for Bengal-gram (Cicer arie^mwm^ Tamil hadalai) 
Omalur and Krishnagiri. The last named is often sown as a catch 
crop on black paddy soils, when the water-supply is insufficient 
for a second crop. It is sometimes mixed with onions and 
coriander. Black-gram and green-gram are often sown in rows 
{sah) between other crops, but Bengal-gram never. 

Gingjelly, {ellu --- Sesanium indicum), is a most important crop in 
Dharmapuri Taluk, where it covers about 30,000 acres ; in 
Krishnagiri it covers over 13,000 acres; in tlttankarai a little over 
4j000, while in the whole of the Talaghat taluks the area does not 
reach 9,000, out of a district total of over 40,000 acres. 

Two varieties of gingelly are grown (1) Per-ellu {or per iya- 
ellu) and (2) Eur- ellu. 

(1) Per-ellu, the less common and inferior variety, is grown 
chiefly in the southern taluks, and is always a dry crop. In 
Omalur Taluk it is sown in Panguni (March- April) and harvested 



in Adi (July-Augnst).^ In AUur, Salem and IJttankarai it is CHAP. IV. 
sown in Purattasi (September-October), and cut iu Margali or Chikf Ceopb. 
Tai (December to February), 90 days after sowing. 

(2) KEr-Hlu is grown on both dry and irrigated lands. 
In Dharmapuri and IJttankarai the seed is usually sown as a dry 
crop in black loam in Panguni or Chittrai (March to May), as soon 
as the soil is moist enough to allow germination. The plants 
attain a fair size within twenty days. The crop is most preca- 
rious, and if the weather does not suit it, the failure is complete. 
A good shower is absolutely necessary as soon as the crop begins 
to flower, but excessive damp is injurious, and any stagnation of 
water is ruinous. The harvest is in Adi or Avani (July to 
September), 90 days after sowing. 

Irrigated kur^eliu is sown in wet lands in January or February, 
after the paddy harvest, and matures in April, May or June. It 
is a favourite catch crop in Attur, Salem and Krishnagiri. It 
requires watering within twenty days of sowing, and again when 
the plants are in flower. Watering should be done in the 
morning only, and not in the evening. Gringelly is sown broad- 
cast and never transplanted. 

In Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri, at harvest, the gingelly plants 
are pulled up by the roots, but elsewhere they are cut close to the 
ground. After drying in the sun for a week or so, the seeds are 
extracted by beating the plants with sticks, or, in the drier 
Talaghat taluks, the plants are stirred occasionally, and the seed 
pods burst of themselves. If before threshing a snake is found 
in the heap, the whole stack is burnt, for Hindus believe such an 
omen portends some fatal disaster. Muharamadans are less 
sensitive, and do not hesitate to defy fate by buying or selling 
the crop thus accursed. Pious Hindus sometimes devote the sale- 
proceeds of snake-stricken gingelly to their gods, and renounce 
gingelly cultivation for two or three years. The sacrifice of a pig 
is supposed to avert the evil influence. To avoid risks the ryots 
usually stack their gingelly in small separate heaps, and put the 
leaves of erukku {Calotropis gigantea) with it as a prophylactic 
against snakes. 

Very little gingelly is grown in Hosur, its place being taken wild 
by the yellow-flowered Peg-ellu or Euch-ellu (" Niger "= Gmzotia Gingelly. 
abyssinica). Pey-ellu is grown as a catch crop with ragi, castor or 
dhall and is invariably sown in furrows. It is hardy, and 

» In Omalttr Taluk Per-ellu, which is the variety usually cultivated, is 
sometimes, but rarely, sown in Purattasi (September-October). Kiir-ellu, on 
the other hand, is oi-dinarily sown in Purattasi, and rarely in Panguni (March- 
April). Very little Kur-ellu is, however, sown in the Taluk. 




CHAP. 17. thrives on poorer soils, red sands, and loams. It is a three months' 
Chief Chops, orop, sown in May or June, and reaped in August or September. 
It is cultivated mostly in the Hosur and Kela-mangalam Firkas. 
The castor-oil plant {Rz'cinus communis = Tamil amanakku, 
also called muitu-kottai or " pearl seed ") is grown all over the 
District, usually as a tye-crop in fields of ragi or kambu. It is 
especially important in the Talaghat, where it takes precedence of 
dhall and mochai as a kist-bearing crop. The estimated area 
under castor in Fasli 1320 was over 26,000 acres, of which 14,000 
lay in the Talaghat, 9,000 in the Bararaalial and 3,000 in the 
Balaghat. Tiracheng5du is the chief castor-growing taluk, with 
an area of 8,500 acres. Ordinarily it is an eight months' crop, 
being sown from Ani to Avani (June to September), and harvested 
from Tai to Panguni (January to April), but the period of 
growth varies with locality and season.^ In the rich soils of 
Pancha-palli, Anchotti, and Andevana-palli, of Denkani-kota 
Division, it grows to a man's height in a couple of months, and 
when mature, it forms a small tree 12' to 15' high : the orop does 
not require constant rainfall, but a few showers are necessary at 
the time of flowering. The orop is harvested in instalments. 

After picking, the seeds are dried for 15 days, and are then 
beaten, sometimes with brickbats. The stalks, which are valued 
for fuel, are often loft standing till the following cultivation 
season begins. Two varieties are grown indiscriminately, the 
" bald " and the " hairy ". In Attur Taluk, and elsewhere 
occasionally,^ it is an irrigated crop. 

The cultivation of ground-nufc, [Arachis hypo' 
gcBa = nela-kadalai), has shown remarkable progress 
during the decade ending Fasli 1320 (1910-11), as 
the marginal figures indicate* Of tho total area, 
over 36,000 acres lie in the Talaghat, and not quite 
6,000 in tho Baramahal. Salem Taluk stands first, 
with over 17,000 acres ; Attur next, with nearly 
8,000 acres, and Tirucheng5du third, with not 
quite 7,000 acres. Sowing takes place in July or 
August, and the harvest is in December. 


* Fasli. 
























^ E.g., Salem and Kasipuram, 300 clays, April or May to February ; Kari- 
patti 240 days (May to January); OmalQr 180 days (July to December); 
Mecheri 90 days ; HosQr four months. 

2 E.g., in Pennagaram Division, where it is called tottatt'dmanaltku, aud is 
planted in Adi round betel-gardens. 

^ The figures exclude those of Namakknl and Tiruppattur Taluks. Those from 
Fasli 1310 to 1316 are for Government villages, minor inams and villages undei" 
the Court of Wards, Those for Fasli 1317 onwards are for the whole District. 


Chillies (Capsicum spp.) form a valuable item of garden CHAP. 17. 
produce, aud they are growa throughout the District, the estima- Chikk Crops. 
tod area being well over 7,600 acres, of which about 1,700 lie in p Co^j. 
Attur. Chillies are sometimes grown as a dry crop, but more mknts, etc. 
usually they arc watered by wells. They prefer rather sandy, Chillies, 
ferruginous soils. 

Coriander {Coriandrum sriiwwn = Tam. kottamaUi) is a useful Coriandor. 
bye-crop, covering between 2,000 and 3,000 acres, scattered 
chiefly over the taluks of IJttankarai, Dharmapuri and Attur. 
Coriander prefers black soils, and is often associated with 
gingelly. It is sown as a late crop, in Arpisi (October-Novem- 
ber), aud harvested in Masi (February-March). 

Mustard {Brassica juncea = Tamil kadiigu), cumin (Cummum other 
cyminnm = Tamil slragam) and fenugreek {Trigonella foenum- Condiments. 
grcecum =:Tamil vendayam) are often mingled with the mixed 
crops that characterise the punj'ai cultivation of the District. 
Mustard is perhaps the most important of the three, though its 
cultivation is almost confined to the Hills and to Hosur Taluk. 
Ordinarily it is a three months' crop, and is therefore among the 
first of the mixed crops to be harvested. The climate of the 
Kolli-malais seems peculiarly congenial to the plant, and it is said 
that the mustard grown on the ragi fields there ia sufficient to 
defray the whole of the kist. 

The remaining garden crops are of little importance. Onions other Garden 
and garlic cover about 1,000 acres, of which nearly half are in Crops. 
Salem Taluk. " Vegetables,'' including brinjals, swoob potatoes, 
yams and innumerable varieties of pumpkins, cover about 2,000 
acres in all. 

The total area under tobacco is nearly 7,400 acres, of which E. Special 
Attur Taluk contributes about 1,700, Tiruchengodu about 1,500, Products. 
Salem about 1,000 : very little is cultivated in the Baramahal, '^0^*^°^. 
except for some 1,400 acres in Uttankarai Taluk. Like betel, the 
right to cultivate tobacco was in Bead's time licensed and farmed 
out by Government. 

The chief centre of tobacco cultivation in the District is the 
Tammampatti Firka of Attur Taluk. There the usual variety is 
that known as "black" tobacco, and it is almost invariably 
cultivated in dry lands under well-irrigation. Tobacco is said to 
thrive only when irrigated with brackish water, and hence well- 
water is preferable to the water of tanks or streams. It is usually 
grown as a second crop, after irrigated kambu or ttival-ragi. The 
soil chosen should be light, but not sandy ; the sites of deserted 
villages or land cleared of prickly -pear are specially suited for 
rearing tobacco, probably owing to the salts that they contain ; 
the presence of lime iu the soil is also beneficial. A light 


226 SALEM. 

CHAP. IV. ferraginous loam yields the best quality, though the leaves are 
Ohi bf Cb opb. smaller, and the cultivation requires greater care, than is the case 
with crops grown on otljer soils. Tobacco should not be grown for 
more than two yesirs consecutively on the same plot of ground. 
Black-cotton soil is unsuited. and in alluvium the plants grow to 
excessive size and suffer in quality. 

Eain-fed tobacco is considered greatly superior in quality to 
that grown under irrigation, though the outturn is less and the 
labour involved greater. 

"When the plants are about 1' 6" high, blossoms begin to 
form : at this stage the top of each plant is nipped off ; no flowers 
are permitted to mature, except such as are required for next 
season's supply of seed. The removal of flower-buds is followed 
by the appearance of lateral shoots or " suckers," and these also 
must be regularly removed. Not more than 10, or at most 12, 
leaves should be left on each plant. Light showers are favourable ; 
heavy showers are injurious ; but the worst enemy of the tobacco 
grower is a hail-storm, which means the annihilation of the crop. 

The Talnks of Tiruchengodu and tjttankarai, and Easipuram 
Division, are the chief centres for snuff tobacco in the Presidency.^ 
Tobacco grown for snuff is almost invariably rain-fed. When 
tobacco is cultivated for chewing, watering is withheld for 4 or 5 
days before the crop is out. A special kind of tobacco called 
" white " tobacco is grown in Attur Firka for snuff. In Salem 
and Tirucheng5du Taluks, where the leaves are removed from the 
stalks before pressing, the stalks are sold by the ryots to middle- 
men. At Edappadi in particular a big trade has developed recently 
in tobacco stalks, which are exported to Baogalore, whence they 
are distributed in Mysore State, Lharwar and Coorg, where the 
Kanarese people chew it with betel. It is sometimes converted 
into snuff. The stalks are also valued locally as manure. 
Cotton. The area under cotton {Gos^ypium spp.) in the wliole District 

in Fasli 1320 was nearly 12,700 acres, of which 10,100 acres were 
located in Tirucheng5du Taluk, 1,200 in Salem and 900 in Attur. 

The variety of cotton usually grown is known as (1) nddam- 
parutH. Less common are (2) ukkam- (or uppam-) paruUt\ 
(3) sem-parutiif (4) adunku- or sada-parutU. Nadam is grown on 
red loams, and is sown after the Chittrai (April-May) rains, or 
later, the Adi Festival - being a specially auspicious time. 
Kambu is often sown broadcast with it. Nadam plants usually 
bear for three years, and they bear twice a year, in January and 
July or a little later. 

I Watt, Commercial Products, 1908, p. 802. 
* 3ee Vol. II, p. 206, 


Ukkam and sem-pavuttiiiiYoxxx black loams ; aduJeku-parutti, like CHAP. IV. 
nadam, prefers red loam. Ukkam is a one year crop. It is from Chief Cbqi's. 
adukku-pariiiii and sem-paruUi thsit the sacred thread is spun. 

Cotton used to be of much greater importance in the agricul- 
tural economy of Salem District than it is now ; the ryot used 
formerly to gin and spin the produce, and hand the yarn over to 
the village Pariahs to be woven into clothes. Salem cotton was 
exploited by Mr. Heath, and after him by Mr. Fischer, and 
" Salems " were well known in the commercial world .•'• 

Indigo {Indigoferob Undoria = Tam. aviri) is a special pro- indigo, 
duct of Attur Taluk, where some 2,000 odd acres are cultivated 
with it. The area under cultivation is steadily decreasing from 
year to year. It is a three months' crop, and is usually sown 
with kambu in June and harvested in September. It is chiefly 
grown as a manure for paddy lands, its value as a dye being 
subsidiary ; the leaf, as soon as harvested, is carted off to the 
factory, and is returned a day or two after to the ryot, who 
receives a rupee on each cartload. An acre of indigo is sufficient 
to manure three acres of wet land. 

The pioneer of coffee cultivation on the Shevaroys was Mr. G. Coffee. 
Fischer, who obtained land for that purpose daring Mr. M. D. 
Coekburn's Collectorate (1820-29). The new industry met with 
the sympathy of Government, and land was granted on favour- 
able terms. ^ 

During the past twenty-five years the coffee planter has had 
to face calamities that threatened him with extinction, and the 
period of depression Las not yet passed.^ 

The chief factors in the decline in prosperity of coffee cultiva- 
tion are three : — (1) fall in the price of coffee, (2) increase in the 
cost of cultivation, (3) pests. 

The marginal statement * shows at a glance the fluctuations in ^'i^ices- 
price of coSee from 1874 to 1907, the 
price obtained in the former year being 
taken as 100. The actual price realised 
in 1901-02 was just over Es. 49 ; in 1906- 
07 it fell to Es. 43-11-0 per cwt. The area 
under coffee in the whole District in 1884 
was 10,769 acres ; in 1894, it fell to 8,680 
acres, in 1900 to 6,224 acres; since 1900 
there has been a slight revival, the area in 
1910 being 7,883 acres, with a yield of 
about 1,000 tons of parchment and native coffee. 

^ See p. 603, Commercial Products of India. ^ See Chapter XI. p. 47. 
3 Most of the matter that follows has been kindly supplied by the late Mr. 
H. W. Leeming and Mr. C. K. Short. 


* Year. 
























Chief Crops. 

Cost of 

The increase in the price of labour, and the growing necessity 
for concentrated manure on account of exhaustion of the soil, 
would have reduced the planter to bankruptcy, if he had not 
materially modified his methods of cultivation. 

When coffee cultivation was first taken up on the Shevaroys, 
the plants were grown under more or less natural conditions. It 
was in the seventies that methods of close planting and rigorous 
handliug were imported from Ceylon. Under this system the 
trees were planted at a distance varying from 4' to 8' apart. ^ 
Coffee pruning comprised three operations, " topping,'^ " hand- 
ling," and "pruning" properly so called. ''Topping" was 
usually resorted to when the plants were three years old ; the top 
shoot being cut at a height of about 5' from the ground. The 
purpose of topping was to check vertical growth and encourage 
horizontal growth only, producing " a crown or umbrella of 
primary branches." By " handling " all undesirable suckers 
and " gormandisers *' were systematically removed, and every 
effort made to restrain the bush severely on fixed lines of growth 
supposed to favour fruiting, and the most convenient to the 
pluckers.^ Pruning proper was carried out after the crop was 
collected ; all shoots that had borne fruits were as a rule removed, 
and those destined for next year's crop were selected and protected. 

A revolution in cultural methods has taken place during the 
past ten years, in consequence of the success attending certain 
innovations made by the late Mr. H. W. Looming of Scotforth, 

near Muluvi. " Mr. Leeming " writes Sir Cxeorge 

Watt " was induced some few years ago to believe that a larger 
plant and more space would give equal, if not better returns, at a 
much lower cost than the prevalent system of many small plants. 
He accordingly removed each alternate bush and reduced his 
estate to 600 plants to the acre. The result was so very promising 
that he went still further, and reduced it to 300 or 325 plants to 

the acre The yield had been greatly increased, the 

cost of cultivation lessened, the plants rendered better able to 
throw off disease, and the produce recorded as fetching a higher 
price than had been the case under former conditions.^ " In short, 
wider spacing has counteracted the increase in cost of labour and 
manure. Few planters now spend as much as Rs. 100 per acre, 
and some of the best estates are worked at from Es. 25 to Es. 30 
per acre, exclusive of picking, curing and supervision. A yield 

1 Intervals of 6' x 7' give 1,037 plants to the acre j 5' x 5', not uncommon 
spacing, would give 1,74!0 plants per acre. 

2 Commercial Prodiicts of India, p. 381, 
' Qqmmcrcial Products of India, p. 375. 


of from 1^ to 2i ewt. per acre would be a fair average estimate, CHAP. IV. 
a well worked estate favourably situated would produce 3^ to 4 Ohiei' Crops. 
ewt. or even 5 cwt. 

The object of " trenching " is partly to pvoteot the surface soil Drainage, 
from erosion, but its chief function is to supply the soil with 
oxygen, especially with the oxygen conveyed by rain showers. 
The ferruginous nature of the soil on the Shevaroys makes 
trenching of special importance, as the ferrous oxide has to be 
converted to ferric oxide, to render it soluble. A series of drains 
3' deep, arranged herring-bone- wise, is one of the most recent 
methods adopted. Bunding and terracing is unusual, but parallel 
contour catch drains are freely used. Pitting is resorted to in 
some estates, and some planters dig over the whole of their estates 
once in two years. 

In the early days of coffee culture, coffee was grown without Shade, 
shade. The advent of leaf blight made shade imperative. The 
dearth of large indigenous forest trees has necessitated the plant- 
ing out of large areas with the Silver Oak {GremUea robusta), 
Erythrina Iithosperma,Artocarpus integri/olia and Albkzw mohiccana, 
the surest and quickest method of protecting clearings. Though 
not deciduous, Grevillea is constantly shedding leaves, and its 
hardiness and rapidity of growth render it popular. The best 
indigenous trees are Blackwood [Dalbergia laUfolia) and Selvanji 
{Albizzia odoratissima) ^hnt unfortunately most of the Blackwood on 
the Shevaroys has been cut down. Other indigenous trees of value 
are Terminalia chebula (Gall-nut), T. belerica, T. catappa (Indian 
Almond), T. tomentosa, Albtzzia lebheh, Pterocarpus marsupium and 
Cedrela toona. Daria {Sponia wightii), ^Si,ga, {Eugenia j'ambolana)^ 
and the figs are to be avoided, as they are very susceptible to bug, 
and their root growth injures the coifee. 

A mulch, or litter of dead leaves and dead weeds, is a useful Mulch, 
protection against surface erosion and surface caking, and it also 
checks the evaporation of water in the soil. The best natural 
mulch is created by deciduous trees. This ia supplemented by 
cutting the weeds before they seed, and leaving tliem in situ. 
The following leguminous plants have been cultivated for the 
prevention of wash, and they act as cover plants ; Cassia mimosoides, 
CrotaJarta striata, Tephrosia purpurea. These should be cut down 
and spread over the surface of the ground during the hot weather. 
In a few months it will be found they have rotted, and formed a 
good mulch, the nitrogen of which is washed into the soil at the 
first burst of the rains. 

By -wider spacing and deeper trenching the cost of manure Manure. 
per acre has been greatly reduced. With 1,200 plants per acre, 



Chief Crops. 



1,200 lb. of manure would be required at 1 lb. per tree, whereas, 
with 300 trees per acre, 1^ lb. can be given to each ti'ee, and the 
total expenditure will be only 460 lb. Saltpetre, bone-manure 
and various kinds of pitndk are the usual manures, but every 
planter has his own ideas as to what is best. 

Almost all the coffee grown on the Shevaroys is Coffea arabica. 
C. liberica has been tried, but it does not pay well, the berries being 
large, with an exeess of pulp. Maragogipe is cultivated on a small 
scale, but it is sensitive to leaf disease, and the yield is unsatisfac- 
tory, a heavy crop being realised only once in three years. 
** Pointed Bourbon " has also been tried. More recently experi- 
ments have been made with C. rohmia^ an African species imported 
from Java ; it is supposed to bo resistant to Hemtleia vastatrix, but 
the species has not yet had long enough trial, and nothing can be 
said of the quality of the bean. The same remarks apply to 
C. congensis, var. chahiti and C. canephora. 

The diseases which have devastated the coffee plantations on 
the Shevaroys are, in order of destructiveness, Blight, Borer and 

(a) The fungoid disease known as Leaf Blight {Hemileia 
vastatrix) was imported into South India from Ceylon in 1871. 
It made its first appearance on the Shevaroys in 1875. Its host 
is supposed to be Canthtum of various species which are abundant 
on the Shevaroys. 

(b) Borer (the grub of the beetle Xylotrechus qmdripes) 
began its ravages in 1897-98, and the damage it has done is 

(c) Brown Bug, the scale insect known to science as 
Lecaniwn hemisphcericum, made its debut in 1870. It first 
attacked the shade-trees, then the fig, jack, charcoal-trco (Daria = 
Sponia wightii^ also called Trema orientalts)^ loquat, guava, oranges 
and limes, and it shows a special liking for Spanish Needle 
(Bt'dens ptlosa). No certain method of dealing with this pest has 
been discovered. Spraying and fumigating are impracticable ; the 
importation of lady-birds has failed ; a fungus that appears during 
the north-east monsoon is fatal to it, but unfortunately the fungus 
attacks the bug usually after the bug has done all the damage it 
possibly can. 

Green Bug (Lecanium viride), which dealt the death-blow to 
the coffee industry in Ceylon, and made its appearance on the 
Nilgiris in 1904, was introduced into the Shevaroys from the Palni 
Hills in about 1905. The Green Mealy Sca,\c {Pulvinaria pstdu) 
has also found its way to the Shevaroy estates. 

In addition to the above pests, much damage is being done by 
stump-rot or root rot, caused by the fungus Hymenocheete noxia 


which spreads from certain forest and shade trees when they die. CHAP. IV. 
The trees which are supposed to propagate this disease are the Chief Crops. 
White Cedar, all Figs, the Silver Oak and the Jack. 

Shevaroj coffee is sent to the mills of Malabar or Coimhatore, Curing. 
" in parchment.'^ ^ Hence the manufacturing processes necessary 
before the bean is ready for export from the hills are of a very 
simple description. The coffee blossoms in March and April, the 
fruit begins to ripen in October and continues till January. The 
fruit is hand-picked as soon as it shows a dark reddish tinge. 
The next process is pulping. The pulper is usually of the disc 
pattern, and is worked by hand. Pulping should be doue as 
soon as possible after picking, to prevent fermentation and 
discoloration of the silver-skin. After the pnlp is removed, the 
sticky mucilaginous stuff with which the parchment is coated is 
removed by first fermenting and then washing the parchment. 
Fermentation requires from 12 to 24 hours, according to the state 
of the weather ; the higher the elevation, the longer will be the 
process. The parchment, after thorough washing, is put to dry 
on specially prepared platforms called " barbecues.^' On arriving 
at the mills, the parchment coffee is usually dried a second time. 
Coffee grown by natives is usually dried without removing the 
pulp attached. 

Tea was introduced on the Shevaroys in the fifties by Tea. 
Mr. Fischer, but its cultivation never got beyond the experimental 
stage, and has since been altogether abandoned. Dr. Cornish, 
writing in 1870, remarked that the plants attained a height of 20' 
and flowered and seeded freely.^ 

In 1881 a few Ceara ^ trees were introduced on the Shevaroys, Rubber, 
but rubber cultivation was not seriously thought of till 1898, 
when Mr. A. G. Nicholson planted several hundred Para and 
Castilloa plants among the coffee of the Hawthorne Estate, up to 
an elevation of about 3,500'. He continued interplanting 
annually, and in 1903 imported Castilloa seed from Mexico direct. 
About the same time other planters turned their attention to 
rubber, and interspersed their coffee with Para and Castilloa, and 
in some instances with Ceara, By 1906 about 1,200 acres were 
80 planted up, most of the rubber being Para. Tapping was 

1 For the uninitiated it is as well to note that the ripe coffee fruit is called the 
"cherry, "the succulent outer coat of the fruit is the "pulp," and the inner 
adhesive layer is known as the " parchment. " The seed coat within the 
parchment, which adheres closely to the seed, is called the " silver-skin." 
Commercial Products of India, p. 388. 

2 Dr. Shortt's Hill Ranges, II, p. 21. 

* For the information on Rubber I am indebted to Messrs. B. Cayley and 

232 SALEM. 

GHAP. IV. tried on a small scale by Mr. Nicholson in 1906, and as mucli as 
Chief Ceops. ^ lb. of dry rubber per tree could be obtained in a mouth from 
his best seven-year-old Para trees, results very favourable con- 
sidering the relatively high elevation and scanty rainfall of the 
Shevaroys, as compared with other rubbor-growiug countries. 
Moreover, in addition to yielding a heavy crop of good seed, 
(valued in 1906 at from Es. 5 to Bs. 7 per thousand), Para makes 
an excellent shade-tree for coffee ; it requires no topping, the 
shade is not too heavy, and the roots do iiot in any way iutorfere 
with the growth of the coffee. Mr. Nicholson was awarded a 
gold medal for the best rubber grown in India, and a card for 
" High Elevation Rubber. " llis success gave an impetus to 
rubber planting, and it is estimated that iu January 1911, the 
area under Para amounted to 1,829 acres with some 484,000 trees, 
and of Ceara to 1,987 acres with some 570,000 trees. 

Ceara, it will be observed, has overtaken Para in popularity. 
The climate of the Shevaroys suits it well, good trees, 3 or 4 
years of age, attaining a girth of as much as 26" at a height of 
3' from the ground. The exact outturn is uncertain, but it is 
said that Ceara trees, 3 or 4 years of ago, will yield 4 ounces of 
dry rubber in a year, rising eventually to 1 lb. As the rains are 
not continuous during the monsoon months, Ceara is not injured 
by tapping ; the cuts heal up rapidly, and there is a noticeable 
increase of yield from renewed bark. Hitherto (1912) rubber on 
the Shevaroys has mostly been planted in coffee, but now that tho 
possibilities of Ceara are gaining recognition, it is not unlikely 
that in the near future large areas will be devoted to rubber 

In addition to Para and Ceara there are small areas under 
CastiUoa elufiica, Funtumia e/asiica, Manihot dichotoma, M. piauhy- 
ensis and M. heptaphylla. 

Many systems of tapping have been tried. The "spiral 
system " was first tried on Mr. Nicholson's Para, and worked well. 
The system, however, which is considered to work tho best is tho 
"half" or "full herring-bone," which can be employed on all 
trees with a girth of 18" measured at a height of '6' from the 
ground. From a height of 5' down to within 6" of the ground 
level the tree is stripped of its outer bark. A broad shallow 
vertical incision is then made from top to bottom of the stripped 
portion, and a tin spout is inserted at the bottom to receive the 
latex. The original oblique cuts are then made about V apart, at 
an angle of 46° to the vertical incision. Every other day shallow 
oblique cuts are made below the originals, until the space between 
the originals is filled up. Under this system paring is avoided, 
and when one side of the tree is finished, the other side can be 


tapped, and the side first tapped will be thus allowed time to heal CHAIMV. 
before it is again interfered with. ' Ciuei- Crops. 

A start was .made in aloe cultivation in the .Priaux Verts j^i^^ 
Estate (Shevaroys) in 1899, when about 40 acres were planted out 
with Agave {Fourcroya giganiea), and in 1904 the Government 
sanctioned the remission of assessment for five years on all lands 
newly cultivated with Agave on the Shevaroys. The venture was 
not a success. Meanwhile, in 1904, about 965 acres of land near 
Morappiir Eailway Station were assigned on a five years' cowle to 
the Indian Fibre Company of Yercaud. The land was planted 
with aloes, but the drought of the two succeeding years, and the 
ravages of cattle and wild pigs, entirely destroyed the plantation. 
The venture was abandoned, and the lands relinquished in 1907. 

About 400 acres, mostly in Salem Taluk, are cultivated with jiemp. 
San-Hemp {Crotalaria juncea =^ Tamil saw«?, Telugu /awwrnw) and 
rather under 100 acres with Deccan Hemp {Hibiscus cannabinus := 
Tamil pulichai). Both are grown as bye-products on the sal 
system, in fields cultivated with unirrigated cereals, and neither 
crop is of much economic value, the produce sufficing only for 
local consumption. 

Except in the case of graft mangoes, no systematic attempt f. Fruit 
has been made to develop fruit culture on a large scale. But, judg- Culture. 
ing from the success of experiments carried out by Mr. C K. Short 
and other planters on the Shevaroys, there is no reason why a 
large orchard should not prove a profitable investment. On the 
Shevaroys no irrigation is required, as at Bangalore, and the soil 
is all that could be desired. Oranges thrive amazingly, and so does 
the common cooking pear, and during the season cartloads of these 
fruits are sent away to the plains. Mr. C. K. Short summarises 
the present state of fruit culture on the Shevaroys as follows : — 

Oranges. — The variety most commonly grown is the tight- 
skinned St. Michael, which stands transport well, and bears good 
crops with little cultivation. The tree takes about 8 years to come 
into full bearing. Excellent as the fruit is, there is room for 
improvement by grafting and high cultivation. The loose-skiniled 
Coorg Orange {Cintra) until very recently was a rarity on these 
hills, but now its cultivation is being rapidly extended, as there is 
a greater demand for them. The other varieties grown on a small 
scale are the Bitter or Seville Orange, and the Kumquat {Citrus 
japonico) ; the former is used for marmalade and the latter for 
preserve., Amongst those which are being experimentally grown 
are the Washington, Navel, Nagpore, Sylhet, China, Mozambique, 
Satghur and the Malta Blood. 

Lemons. — The Sour Lime is common on most estates ; the 
Malta Lemon and the Citron do well at elevations of over 4,500'. 



CHAP. IV. Pomeloes {Citrus decumana, or shaddock). — Both the red and 

Chikk Crops, the white varieties flourish ; the former make good caudied peel. 

Apples grow to special perfection on Mr. Thurston Short's 
estate, " Eiverdale," a fact due, no doubt, to some peculiarity in 
the soil and situation. 

Pears (Pyrus communis)^ thrive on the higher elevations, 4,500' 
and over. They are propagated by cuttings, which take 10 years 
or more to bear. The La Conte and Keiffer, which bear fruit at 
Bangalore, are being tried at Nagalur at an elevation of 3,800 . 
Other graft varieties, such as Bergamot, Jargonelle, Marie Louise, 
and Beurre Hardy, should do well on the Green Hill plateau. 

Plums bear abundant crops ; some trees carry a bushel each. 
It would be interesting to see if the variety from which prunes 
are made would flourish on the hills. 

Peaches do well, but the fruit has a tendency to grow elongated 
instead of round. 

The Loquat {Erioboirija japonica or Japanese Medlar) is 
common. The fruit ripens in September or October. Some years 
ago a very fine champagne was made from its juice. 

Chirimoya {Anona cherimoUa) indigenous in Peru, was 
introduced by the late Major Hunter from Madeira, and fruited 
for the first time in 1884. The fruit resembles the bullook-licart 
in appearance, and the custard-applo in flavour. The hybrid 
Chirimoya (a cross between the true Chirimoya and the Custard 
Apple), produces a very large luscious fruit of exquisite flavour. 

Pine-apples. — The common variety flourishes ; the fruit, 
though small, is of very good flavour. 

Strawberries were successfully grown by Mr. J. C. Large 
under irrigation, but they do not thrive if grown on the same 
ground for two consecutive years. 

Other fruits that do well on the Hills are the Papaw {Cart'ca 
papaya), which also thrives on the plains, the Butter-l'ruit (Persea 
vulgaris, P. oblonga, P. macropJiylla, P. drimyfolta, etc.), the Fig, 
the Guava [Psidium guayava), Jack-fruit {Artocarpus inteyrifolia) , 
Eose-apple (Eugcnta Jambos), Custard-apple {Anona .squamosa), 
Pomegranate {Punica granatum), Plantains and Mulberry {Morus 
indica)} Viticulture has not been attempted on the Hills, but 
the town of Krishnagiri is noted for its grapes, which are trained 
over pergolas in the backyards of Muhammadan houses. 
Mangoes. Thanks to the enterprise of a few local Muhammadans, Salem 

Town is famous for its graft mangoes. More than twenty varie- 
ties are grown, the most popular being Gundu, Nadu-sdlai, 
Kuddddd and Malyova. Graft mangoes are also grown extensively 

I The Malberry is also grown extensively ronnd Bgrikai for the rearing of 
silk-worms — See Vol. II, p. 124, 



at Kaveri-patnam, but grafting is not done locally, grafts being CHAP. IV. 
imported from Salom, Chittoor and Bangalore {Gundu, Malgova, Chief Onopa. 
Kddir, Pithary Dil-pasand, Gathemar, Nltam^ Chittura, and 
Bengalura). On the Shevaroys graft mangoes flourish up to 
2,500', but the fruit-fly destroys the fruit produced at elevations 
of over 3,500', by burrowing in the soft tissues and rendering it 
valueless. Common country mangoes grow everywhere, but the 
fruit is of very little value.^ Mangoes flower in Tai (January- 
February), and are harvested in Chittrai (April-May), and the 
trees are usually leased to contractors in Masi (February -March). 

In Salem City mangoes are grafted by " inarching." For inarohins. 
the stock, ordinary mango shrubs of two years' growth are used. 
The top of the stock is cut off, the stem pared to half its thickness 
to a distance of 3" or 4" from the top. An incision of similar 
size and shape is then made in the stem of any suitable shoot in 
the parent tree, and the two are bound tightly together with a 
strip of waxed cloth, which is afterwards covered with a mixture 
of cowdung and earth. 

A slightly different method is adopted for inarching Guava, 
Orange, Lime, Pomegranate, and other fruit-trees, the stock being 
pared on both sides and spliced into a longitudinal upward 
incision (technically known as a " cleft ") in the parent shoots. 

The subjoined statement shows in acres the dyakat under the Ireigation. 
several classes of irrigation for each Taluk in Fasli 1321 : — 


U to 



ti VI 

13 u 




U ' 


ai3 d 



'-' f5 d 

2 a 

fl a 


iver < 


















































Dharmapuri ... 








Ijttankarai ... 














Krishnagiri ... 















^ For instance the Puttira-Kavundan-Palaiyam tope, planted by Mr. Pochin, 
which measures about 6 furlongs long and 1 furlong broad, only realises an 
annual bid of about Rs. 18, and a similar tope at Abinavam, planted by the 
same officer, fetches about the same, whereas one good graft mango tree in 
Salem realises from Ks. 30 to 50 annually. 





The operations of the Tank Restoration Scheme Parties have 
been confined to the Basin of the Pennaiyar, and to the Tirumani- 
muttar Minor Basin of the Kaveri. The Pennaiyar Basin has 
been divided into the Minor Basins of (1) Hostir, (2) Markanda- 
nadi, (3) Kaveri-patnam, (4) Pambax, (5) Kambaya-nallur and 
(6) Vaniyar. Much of the area included in the Pambar, Mar- 
kanda-nadi and Tirumani-muttar Basins lies beyond the limits 
of the District. The results of the investigations arc summarised 
in the subjoined statement : — 





of irri- 






of square 


to a 



Pambar .. 
ViiniyiLr ... 
















of Gov- 


of (»ov- 
as per 












of Gov- 
works of 
over 100 








The Public Works Department is in charge of all tanks and 
anaikats which irrigate upwards of 200 acres, all " railway afPoct- 
ing ^' tanks, and all tanks, irrespective of size, which arc fed by 
Imperial anaikats. Details of these works are given in the Taluk 
notices in Chapter XV. 

gation works in the District in 
charge of the Revenue Depart- 
ment is 2,409, distributed as shown 
in the margin. Their ayakat is 
a little less than 47,000 acres, and 
the annual cost of maintenance a 
little under Rs. 20,000. It will 
be noted that petty works are far 
more numerous in the Baramahal 
than in the Talaghat. 
Under some of the larger irrigation sources a simple business- 
like device is adopted for regulating the distribution of water to 
the several holdings. The nlrganti, as the village servant is 
called whose duty it is to distribute the water, is provided with a 
small copper cup, in the bottom of which a tiny hole is bored. 

Minor Works. r^}^Q ^u 

mber of 




umbor of 

Hosur ... 








Salem ... 






Attar ... 


Hag. No. 646 
Copies 620 












SANP VLUines * 



28 A 

Ni«ma of wQfits 



Sluicit NO. I 

Do. .. 

7 . 




No. 1 

Sluic« No 

9 . 



Regulator No. 2 

Sluice No. 18 


Surplus Weir & Surplus Sluicac. 

WesdMaIn Sluice.. 

East Main Sluice 

SluiceNo. I 

Do No.2 


Pipe Sluice No. t 

Sluice No. 2. 

Do „ 3 

Do. ., 4 

Pip«! Sluice No. 6 


Sluice No. a . 



Sluice No, I 


Head Sluice 
Sluice No. I 

Do. ..5 

gA8T MAIN 9H/^flMr^ 

Sluice Na I 

Oo. „ 2 

Do. ^ S 

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Do. „ 5 

Do , e 

Do. . 7 

Do. , a 

Do. „ 

Oo. .. lO. . 

Oo. .. II 

Do- ..12 

R. B. 
L. B. 

L. B. 







4 ace 

















N.-imuof work- 

ReBuldtor No. I 
Sluice No. 13 

Do. ., 16 
Neculator No. 
Sluice No. IV 




Slulc^ No. 

1 . . ., 

Do. .. 


Do. .. 


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Oo. ., 




Sluice No. 


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Do. M 


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Sluice No. 


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Do. > 


Do. ., 




KonOom A. Head Sluice 
Sluice No. I 


H B 
R B 
R B 
R H 
H. 8 
R. B 
R. B. 

R. B. 

L. B 
R. B. 

L. a 

L. 8. 
L B. 

R. B. 
B. B 
R. B 
R. B. 
L. B. 

R. a 

L. B. 
L. B. 
R B 
R B. 

L. a. 

















" 578 








Helio-Zinco., Survey Office, Madras. 




This cup is floated ou a chatty of water, and iu twenty minutes it CHAP. IV. 
fills and sinks. On the inside of the cup are marks to indicate Irrigation. 
when it is a quarter, half or three-quarters full. The time re- 
quired to fill a cup 1-^- times is sufficient to irrip^ate about an acre. • 
Allowing for delays, the cup is filled ahout 33 times between 
sunrise and sunset, and 33 times during night, and about 40 
acres can be irrigated in 24 hours. The nlrganti is watched by the 
ryot whose land is to be irrigated, and he is also supervised by one 
of the other ryots who hold land under the dyakat. The ryots 
take up this work of supervision in turn, and the supervising ryot 
is allowed 3 out of 33 turns for his own use as compensation for 
his loss of time. 

The marginal statement shows the area of Government lands Baling. 

registered as " Baling wet" ^ 

at Resettlement, together 
with the number of wells in 
each taluk in Fasli 1320. 

The physical character Kuttais. 
of the District lends itself 
readily to the formation by 
natural or artificial agencies 
of small ponds or kuitais, 
supplied with water by 
springs, surface drainage or 
jungle streams, and permit- 
ting the precarious irriga- 
tion of small plots of land. Concurrently with the Resettlement 
of the northern taluks, an exhaustive enquiry was made into the 
conditions of irrigation under kuttais and small anaikats through- 
out the District, and a record of rights was prepared. As many as 
1,118 sources were recognised as private, and sanads were issaed 

The Barnr Project was first undertaken as a famine relief 
work in 1877. It was completed in 1888 at a cost of Es. 4,84,415. 
Since that date several improvements have from time to time been 
made. The Pennaiyar is dammed at Nedungal, in Krisbnagiri 
Taluk, at a point where its catchment area is 1,900 square miles. 
The anaikat is 912 feet across. The Supply Channel to Barur 
Great Tank takes off from the left bank of the river ; it is 7 miles 
1 furlong in length, and is provided with 17 sluices, all opening 
in the right bund of the channel. These sluices are used for 
direct irrigation ; some of them supply three tanks formerly fed 
by river channels from the Pennaiyar, viz., Maruderi, Velanga- 
mudi and Barur Small Tank. 













Krisbnagiri ... 




Dharmapuri ... 




tJttankarai ... 




















See Vol. II. pp. 39, 40.« 



CHAP. IV. Barvir Great Tank itself covers C88 acres. It lies at the head 

Trrigatiox. of a shallow valley, bounded on the east and west by low ridges. 
The A ater of the Great Tank is distributed by two Main Chan- 
nels, which follow the contours of these two ridges, and irrigate 
the intervening lands. The West Main Channel is 2. miles 5 fur- 
longs in length, and gives ofE one Branch Channel. The total 
length of the East Main Channel is 10^ miles, and it also feeds 
three Branch Channels. The drainage of its tail-end tanks flows 
through the Mitta tanks of Anandur, Tiruvana-patti and Agra- 

The completion of the Bartir Project was not followed by 
the rapid extension of wet cultivation that had been expected, and 
the additional revenue derived from it failed to cover the interest 
on capital expenditure. 

In 1893 the Board ordered that, as the Project was a "work 
for which capital and revenue accounts are kept " the lands com- 
manded by it should bo assessed at " first group " rates. This 
order was revised in 1898 on the recommendation of the Collector, 
and first-class rates were continued only for lands under the first 
six sluices of the Main Channels, the remaining sluices of the 
West Channel, with its branch, and sluices 7 to 11 of the East 
Channel were reduced to the second class, and the rest of the dyakal 
was placed in the third class. 

At Eesettlement the three tanks fed directly by the Supply 
Channel were raised to the second class, while all sluices below 
the 6th in the West Channel, and below the 11 th in the East 
Channel with the Branch Channels of the latter were reduced to 
the fourth class. 

The result of Resettlement was to raise the assessment of the 
occupied ayaTcat from Rs. 10,900 to lis. 24,750. Of this increase, 
nearly Rs. 9,000 represents the dry assessment and water-rate 
previously chargeable on the extent transferred at Resettlement 
from dry to wet,^ 



1 Description of Land. 








Wet at Settlement 




Transferied from dry to wet between 

Settlement and Resettlement 




Transferred from dry to wet at Ee- 





Water-rate on dry before Resettle- 









The Pcnukondapuram Tank was built as a famine relief CHAP, IV. 
work in the seventies, on the site of a ruined bund which was Iurigation. 
breached apparently before the District came under British rule. i>enukonda. 
The chief source of supply is the Sandtir Eiver; an additional puram. 
supply is derived from the Mattur Eiver by an open-headed 
channel dug in 1898-99. The whole ayakat is less than 500 
acres ; the soil is sandy, saline and poor. Though the catchment 
area is 52 square miles, the supply is precarious, the bund leaks, 
and the whole project is rather a dismal specimen of a famine 
relief work. 

The Kavori Project is a scheme for damming the Kaveri at a KaveH 
poiut just above the village of Metur, Bhavani Taluk, Coimbatore Project. 
District (opposite Panamarattuppatti, Tiruchengddu Taluk), where 
the Palamalai and the Sita-malai converge^ 35 miles above Erode 
and 24 miles above the confluence of the Bhavani and Kaveri 
rivers. The reservoir so formed will hold 80,000 million cubic 
feet of water, and the water-spread will reach northward to 
Hogenkal falls beyond the confluence of the Toppur Eiver with 
the Kavori, submerging the villages round Solappadi and Baddi- 
ra-halli in the Dharmapuri Taluk. The Project is intended 
for the improvement and extension of irrigation in Tan j ore 

The Krishnagiri Project provides for the construction of a Krishnao-iri 
dam across the Pennaiyar, at a point where the river valley is Project, 
narrowed to a width of half a mile by two rocky hills, 25 miles 
north-west of the spot where the Madras-Calicut Railway crosses 
that river. The catchment area of the reservoir would be 1,431 
square miles. The capacity of the reservoir is estimated at 6,000 
million cubic feet, a quantity sufficient for the irrigation of 20,000 
acres of paddy and 38,000 acres of dry crops. It is doubtful if 
it will be possible without infringing existing irrigation rights 
to permit impounding of such large quantities of water and 
this matter ia the subject of further enquiry. Two main distri- 
bution channels are provided for. The south main channel would 
irrigate that portion of Krishnagiri Taluk which lies on the right 
. bank of the Pennaiyar, and stretches as far as the Kambaya-nalltir 
Mitta. The east main channel is to serve the left bank of the 
Pennaiyar, bending round the hill to the east of the reservoir and 
passing near the bund of the Ghouse Saib Tank of A.vadana-palli. 
Thence it is to cross the road, and curve round the hill near 
Timmapuram Tank, irrigating the country just above the 
Nedungal Anaikat. 

See p. 21 BDpra, and Vol. II, p. 276, 




halli Project. 







The Maranda-halli Project is intended to utilise the surplus 
water of the Sanat-kumara-uadi, which at present passes over 
the Maranda-halli Anaikat in Dharmapuri Taluk, at which point 
the river has a catchment area of 340 square miles. The scheme 
provides for increasing the capacity of Sangam-basavau, Maveri 
and Jor-talav Tanks by raising their bunds. 

A further extension of the Maranda-halli Project is the con- 
struction of a reservoir near Palakddu, to be filled by the surplus 
water of the Jer-talav. This reservoir would irrigp.te the valley of 
the Pala-halli river, which crosses the Dharmapuri-Krishnagiri 
road south of Kari-mangalam. 

Proposals have been formulated for improving the precarious 
supply of the Bade-talav Tank, noar Krishnagiri, by connecting 
it, by a channel 12 miles long, with the Markanda-nadi near 
Nidusal.^ where an anaikat was to be built. The Krishnagiri 
Project would, however, be incomparably more useful, and would 
benefit the same tract. 

Suggestions have been made for exploiting the Sanat-kumara- 
nadi by the erection of a gigantic reservoir near Pancha-palli , 
but the Pula-halli Project would serve the same end far more 
effectively. Two reservoirs have been proposed near Anchetti in 
Hosnr Taluk. The adjoining tract, however, is sparsely populated, 
feverish, and mostly covered by reserved forests. Proposals 
have also been considered for utilising the Vaniyar and the 
Toppur River by the construction of dams, and for enlarging 
the capacity of the tanks fed by the Sarabhanga-nadi and 

Volumes might be written on the coonomio condition of 
agriculture in the District, on tho poverty under which the rvot 
suffers, on his indebtedness, on the increase in the cost of 
cultivation, tho restrictions of Forest Laws, and the weight of land 
assessment. Unfortunately it is not humanly possible to sum- 
marise accurately the little-understood complex of forces that act 
and react on the ryot's status, and vague generalities are best 
left alone. Suffice it to say that tho ryot shows no sign of being 
'• taxed out of existence," that ho is as truly the backbone of the 
nation to-day as he was a century, or a millonium, ago, and that 
the soil of Salem District under the British Eaj can support 
nearly four times the population that it supported under Tipu's 

1 A village belonging to Neriyana-kuppam Mitta of Kri8hnag:iri Taluk on 
the opposite side of Markanda-uadi to Mara-samadram. 






rule. Indebted the ryot undonbtodly is, was, and always will 
be, but he ia none the less sturdy and virile for that. Munro's 
impartial summary of the ryot's condition is by no means an 

anachronism in the twentieth century. 

" Though the ryots have little money, 1 imagine that they suffer 
less real distress than the peasantry of Europe. The inclemency of 
the weather is what they hardly ever feel : firewood costs them 
nothing, and dress very little. Their own labour, for two or three 
days, is the price of their house, which is built of mud and covered 
with straw or leaves, and, in a warm climate, such materials answer 
the purpose just as well as stone or marlle. All of them are 
married, and their families, so far from being a burden, are a great 
support to them, because their labour produces more than the 
expense of their maintenance : — tbis is so generally understood, 
that nothing is more common than to grant a man a remission of 
rent on the death of his wife or his son. Learned men who write 
of India, begin by talking of the son, and then tell us that its 
vertical rays make the natives indolent ; but notwithstanding all 
this, the farmers are, at least, as industrious as those of Europe, and 
their women more so.^ " 

The Census Keturns for 1911 show that nearly 1,300,000 Census 
souls, or 73 per cent, of the total population, are dependent on ^^'^"''"''■ 
agriculture for livelihood. Out of every thousand so dependent, 
35 are classed as non-cultivators (land-owners 24 and tenants 1 1 
per mille), and 965 as cultivators (landowners 709, tenants 76 and 
labourers 180 per mille).^ Thus, excluding non-cultivating owners 
and tenants, the number of souls directly dependent on the soil 
totals just over 1^ millions, or 70 per cent, of the total population. 
Out of this huge total, 58 per cent, are classed as " actual workers " 
and 42 as " dependents ", against 50 per cent. " actual workers ' 
and 50 per cent. " dependents " for the remaining half million of 
the population. The percentage of " actual workers " among 
the cultivating landowners is 56, among the cultivating tenants 
54, and among the agricultural labourers 70 ; and of those "actual 
workers " the percentage of females is 42 among cultivating land- 
owners, 37 among cultivating tenants, and 66 among field- 
labourers. The analysis is interesting, as it shows that the 
peasant proprietor is still the most important person in the 
District, and that he and his family work hard. No doubt the 

1 Letter dated Omalur, May 10, 1796, Gleig, Vol. I, p. 186. 
* The actual figures are — 

Non-cultivating owners ... 

Non-cultivating tenants 

Cultivating owners 

Cultivating tenants 














comparative dearth of capitalists is a check on the rapid develop- 
ment of new methods of agriculture, hut the rapid growth of 
grouad-nut and cotton cultivation during the past decade prove 
that the Salem ryot is by no means buried in conservatism. 
Latifundia are not an unmixed blessing, and Salem District 
affords a useful object lesson in the vitality of " small holdings." 
Though " rent-roll " statistics are apt to be vitiated by the 
fact that a ryot may not only hold several pattas in his ownname,^ 
but may also have an interest in several " joint-pattas ", yet, so 
far as they go, they corroborate in an interesting way tho 
inferences to be drawn from tho census returns. The subjoined 
figures show the proportion of single and joint pattas in each 
taluk after the introduction of Resettlement, together with the 
percentage of pattas paying over and under Es. 30 : — 




Bs. 10 


Ks. 10 and 

Rs. 30. 

Rs. 30. 

Kb. 30. 







TimchcngOdu ... 


















Dbarmapnri ... 












Hosur ... 






Snob lands as are leased, are usually leased for a share in the 
produce {varam tenure). The respective shares of contracting 
parties are, as a rule, determined by local custom. The common- 
est arrangement is for owner and tenant to take a moiety of tho 
produce each, the owner paying the whole assessment, and the 
tenant bearing all the cost of cultivation. Sometimes the owner 
gets only two-fifths, and in the case of lands irrigated by baling, 
the owner's share is often reduced to one-fifth. The poorer the 
soil, the lower is the owner's share, and one-sixth is sometimes 
agreed to. In the Baramahill, and also in the Denkani-kota Divi- 
sion, the so-called handacharam system is in vogue, by which the 
owners receive one-fourth of the produce, the tenants three- 
fourths, each party paying half the kist. Leases for a fixed rent 
in kind (guttagai) are confined to wet and garden lands irrigated 
by unfailing sources, such as the Pennaiyar channels or " major" 
tanks ; the owner pays the kist and receives 5 or 6 kandagams ^ 

^ " Duplicate putfcas " as thej are called in Settlement jargon. 
^Inolusive of Omaltir. 

3 One kandagam = 213^ Madras measares in the Krishnagiri Taluk and 110 
Madras measures in the Dharmapuri Taluk, 


of grain. Money rents are paid mostly on betel-gardens, and on CHAP. IV 
paddy land in the few favoured localities where the sowears find Ageicui. 
the purchase of land to bo a profitable investment for capital. economy. 

The sale value of land since 1871 has fluctuated in rather a 

curious manner. In preparing the Scheme Eeports for Resettle- * ^®*' 

ment, the rogiatcred sale deeds of nearly 300 typical villages were 
examined, and it was found that the average sale value of *' dry " 
laud in most of the District stood markedly lower in the period 
1881-85 than it was in 1871-75. The fall is duo partly, no 
doubt, to the fact that in the earlier period the transactions regis- 
tered were few in number, and at the later period registration was 
more in fashion, even for petty transactions ; it is probable at the 
same time that depreciation was due in part to the Groat Famine. 
Since 1885, however, there has been a steady rise in land values, 
except under ordinary " dry " lands ; the value of " wet ^' lands 
in the southern taluks rose from Es. 99 in 1871-75 to Es. 140 in 
1895-1900; the value of "dry" lands with wells rose from 
Rs. 53 to Rs. 64-^ ; in the northern taluks the value of " wet " 
lands w^ith wells rose from Rs. 120 in 1871-75 to Es. 204 in 
1891-95, that of "wet" lands without wells from Es. 131 to 
Es. 166 ; while '^ dry " lands with welh rose from Es. 23 
to over Es. 43 in the same period. Ordinary " dry " lands, 
however, in the southern taluks fell from Es. 29^ to Rs. 22|-, 
and in the northern taluks the figure for both periods was 
just under Es. 23.-^ The decrease is probably due to the fact that 
the poorer lands, which in the earlier period could command no 
price at all, in the later period acquired a saleable value. 

More recent registration figures for the whole District indicate 
a further rise ; the average value of " dry " land in Government 
villages for the whole District in 1897 was Es. 31, in 1904 it was 
Rs. 45; that of ''wot" was Es. 179 in 1897, and Es. 221 
in 1904 ; the rise in Mitta lands was less sharp. 

The stability of the ryots seems to be improving, and the pro- Land 
portion of immoveable property transferred from ryots to non- transfers, 
agricultural capitalists appears to be decreasing. For instance the 
District Eegistrar's returns show that in 1897, of the total extent 
of land purchased, only 74 per cent, was bought by agriculturists, 
while in 1904 the percentage was 83 ; in 1897 ryots sold 4,130 
acres more than they purchased ; in 1904 the difference was 
reduced to 411 acres. If these figures are any index of the drift of 
things, there is no serious reason to fear that the ownership of 
land is passing out of the hands of the agricultural classes, 

1 See G.O. 1029, Rov., of 7th October 1903, p. 23 ; and Board's Proceedings 
212 of 15th July 1905, p. 28. 







The area of " dry " land classed as assessed waste (podugdl) ia 
Government villages at Eesettlement amounted to about 350,000 
acres, assessed at Rs. 2,11,000 odd, and the area under "wet 
waste " was about 4,600 acres, assessed at a little over 
Rs. 22,000. ^In the resettled villages the percontago of "dry 


Balem ... 


Attar .. 




Hoaftr. . . 

waste " to the whole *' dry " ayakat was as shown 
13 in the margin. The figures at first sight are 
46 rather startling, especially in Attur,^ Uttankarai 
1^ and Hosur, and the existence of such cnor- 
31 mous areas of waste land demands an explanation. 
26 The cause can hardly be ovcr-assessmont, for a 
glance at the soil-war abstracts ^ of assessed waste reveals the fact 
that most of the waste land in the District is very lightly assess- 
ed. The average assessment on " dry waste " at Resettlement 
was a little less than 10 annas per acre, and that on 
"wet waste" about Rs. 4J.* In the southern taluks nearly 
60 per cent, of the waste was assessed at loss than one rupee per 
acre, and in the northern taluks nearly 90 per cent, of the waste 
oomes under the same category, nearly 40 per cent, being placed 
in the lowest taram of 4 annas per acre. The fact is that a very 
large proportion of the soil in Salem District is extremely poor in 
quality and barely repays the most meagre culture. Moreover the 
large tracts that adjoin Forest Reserves are often not only 
malarial, but also peculiarly liable to be devastated by wild 
animals. The result is that the ryot tends to concentrate his 
efforts on the intensive cultivation of the lands which yield the 
richest produce or lie closest to his homo. Especially is this the 
case in Attur Taluk, where the ryot's chief interest lies in his wolls 
and channels. The poorer and remoter soils are not unnaturally 
neglected. If a few good showers fall at an opportune moment, it 
may be worth a ryot's while to plough a patch of waste land and 
sow it with a hardy crop, without asking for its formal assignment. 
It would not pay him to expend much time or labour on manuring 
and weeding such fields, and so superficial is the cultivation, that 
the land must be frequently left fallow to enable the soil to recoup 

* Exolusivfl of Namakkal and TirnppattOi-, but inolnsive of the newly -settled 
villages of Attar, Salem, Dharmapuri and Hosur. 

* For the pecnVar condition of Attur Taluk, see G.0. 1029, Rjv. of 7th Octo- 
ber 1903, pp. 14 and 15. 

» See Appendix XIV-A and XIV-H at pp. G2 and 63 and 74 of B.P, 387 of 
19th October, 1906, and Appendices VIl-A and VII-B at pp. 55 and 56 of li.P. 
9 of 8th March, 1908. 

Wet Dry. 

liS. A P. RH. A. P. 

* South 5 6 9 11 

North 3 6 11 8 4 


its exhausted energies. Thus very large areas of waste land are chap. IV, 
cultivated on sivdi/jmnn, and arc never assigned, and in many Agricul- 
localities, notably in Attur and Hosur, the farmer's etiquette economy. 

prescribes that, if a ryot has once cultivated a waste field, he has a 

sort of claim to it, and no other ryot may take it up without his 
consent.^ Again, in Hosur Taluk, custom requires the reservation, 
by mutual consent of the villagers, of large tracts of waste land 
for purposes of grazing, and even recognises the preferential rights 
of individual ryots to graze their stock on particular fields. Lastly, 
the cost of paying the value of trees on waste land^ which is a 
condition precedent to its assignment, often acts as a deterrent to 
its being brought under permanent occupation. In view of the 
above facts, the extent of land remaining unoccupied in Salem 
District is not so serious a symptom as it might appear, and there 
is little prospect that the total area permanently under " holdings " 
will ever be greatly extended. 

It is by no means easy to express the remuneration of the Wages, 
agricultural labourer in terms of annas and pies. The day 
labourer is sometimes paid in cash, sometimes in kind, sometimes 
in both. His remuneration varies with the work he has to 
perform, and the different rates for ploughing, weeding, reaping, 
thrashing, etc. When he is paid in kind, he may receive one meal 
a day plus cash or grain, or two meals a day, or so many measures 
of grain per diem, and the measures in which Iculz ia paid vary 
widely in different localities, and sometimes special measures are 
employed for the purpose.^ The position of farm-servants {pan- 
naiydls =: adscripW glehce) is different ; they engage themselves to 
their master (yajamdnan) for periods varying from a year to a life- 
time ; the terms of the contract are infinitely various ; the master 
usually provides food and clothing, with perhaps a small sum of 
money annually, and a few customary presents, such as a cloth at 
Dipavalij a tali at marriage, a few rupees at the birth of a child, 
etc. It must not be forgotten that in the days of Tipu the posi- 
tion of the agricultural labourer was virtually one of hopeless 
slavery. Among the forms of agreement officially sanctioned by 
Eead is a " Form (No. 38) of Promissory Note to a Servant who 
engages to serve him for life"; its terms are terse and to the 
point ; they run : — 

" If you serve me while you are able to work, I will maintain you 
while you live." 

1 Fodugdl-hdddiyam or " right to waste land " is the phrase current in A*ttir 

* For the K&li-padi and Kuli-vallam see page 287. 







Another Form of Promissory Note (No. 36) of equal interest, 
and rather more respectful to human liberties, runs as if written 
by Laban to Jacob : — 

" If you will serve me five years from this date to the best of 
your ability, I will supply you with food and apparel, and at the 
expiration of that period will give you my daughter in marriage." 

Unfortunately documents similar in purport to the former of 
these promissory notes are occasionally presented, oven in the 
twentieth century, at the offices of the Sub-Eegistrars. For 
instance : — 

" We are your Pariah servants, aud as such we serve you in all 
good and bad occasions, in all the works you command us to do in our 
lifetime ; and for our service you have to give us five measures for 
each kandagam of your produce in each year " or 

" 1 have received Ks. 37, and in lieu of interest I have employed 
my three sons under you for 15 years, on pay of Ks. 1-8-0 per annum 
and 12 rallams of ragi per mensem. If my sons fail to work, I render 
myself liable to damages and punishment under tlie Acts of Govern- 
ment. '' 

But though poverty survives, the position of tlie labouring 
classes is undoubtedly improving. In Horut, in particular, the 
supply of labour is unequal to the demand, aud the day-labourer 
can dictate his terras. The counter-attraction of the Kolar Gold 
Fields and the Mattigiri Eemount Depot, and the high wages 
offered by estate owners on the Shevaroys and Nilgiris, and in 
Ceylon, Mauritius, Penang, etc., partly account for this. Good 
wages, too, can be obtained on road repairs, irrigation works, now 
railways, or in gathering forest and avenue produce. Even 
plague, by restricting the supply of labour, has helped to place the 
coolie classes in an advantageous position. 

Perhaps, however, the ideal of agricultural economy is to be 
found among the Malaiyalis of the Kolli-malais; There the land- 
owner may make his own arrangements for ploughing and weeding, 
but at harvest time every villager may claim the right to join in 
the reaping, and earn his 3 or 4 measures of grain per diem, 
whether the owner wants his services or not. The effect of this is 
that, in years of scanty yield, the poor man, though his whole 
crop may go to pay those who reap it, can at least save himself 
from starvation by earning his share of his richer neighbour's 
produce. Wages are always paid in kind, and very little money 
is in circolation, the result being that the purchasing power of a 
rupee on the Kolli-malais is mu6h higher than it is in the plains. 

The problem of agricultural indebtedness received as earnest 
attention from Road and Munro as it does from the Government 
of to-day. Read's very first proclamation provided for the grant of 

aGkicultube and iuriqation. 


loans (takkavi) by Government to needy ryots and new settlers, as CIIAP. 17. 
well as for the repairs of tanks, provisions which anticipated the Agricol- 
Loaus Acts of 1883 and 1884. But Government Loans have not economy. 

met with the success they deserve, and they have puly touched the 

fringe of the problem. Possibly the abolition of the December 
kist in Fasli 1316 (1906-07)^ will do something to improve the 
ryots' credit, for the December kist undoubtedly placed the ryot 
under the heel of the so wear. But brighter prospects are perhaps 
opening with the rapid growth of the co-operative credit system. 
The movement began with the registering of an Urban Bank and 
a Rural Society in Namakkal Taluk in 1905. At the close of 
1907-08 the number of societies was only 8, but in 1908-09 the 
number rose to 43, and in the following year to 82. This extra- 
ordinary progress was due to the formation of the Salem District 
Urban Bank in January 1909, which, thanks to the energy of the 
Secretary Mr. Adinarayana Chettiyar, in five months collected 
" Es. 10,000 of share capital, obtained over Rs. 20,000 of local 
deposits, borrowed nearly two lakhe, realised a net profit of 
Es. 1,200, and carrying over Rs. 500 to a dividend equalisation 
fund, and Es. 300 to the reserve fund, declared a dividend of 9 per 
cent." 2 In 1910-1 1, owing to the transfer of Namakkal with one 
Urban and six Eural Societies to Trichinopoly, the number of 
gocieties remaining was only 75, but even then their working 
capital wasEs. 4,15,423, and the credit given Es. 4,00,691. 

i See Vol. II, p. 57. 

^ Address of Mr. B. V. Narasimha Ayyar at the Salem District Co-operative 
Conference of 19th March 1910. 

248 SALEM. 



History — Eeservation — Distribution — Working Plans — Timber and Fuel — Firo 
protection — Cultural Operations — Bamboos — Sandal — Grazing — Maniire 

Leaves — Minor Produce — Koads — Revenue — Crime. 

Historj. Forest con8er\rancy in Salem District may be said to begin with 

the advent of the Madras Eailway, towards the end of the sixth 
decade of the nineteenth century. Attempts had already been 
made by the local authorities to restiict the wholesale clearances of 
forest growth on the hills by Malaiyalia for purposes of cultivation 
and the profits to be made by the exploitation of forest products 
had attracted the notice of Government. With the construction 
of the railway came a frantic demand for sleepers ; an attempt 
was made to control the supply, and by the year 18G0-61 a 
complete establishment was organised and a set of rules was 
sanctioned. But the establishment, which consisted of an 
Assistant Conservator, an Overseer and twelve peons, was too small 
and too late to prevent a devastation from which the District has 
not even yet recovered. 

For the construction of the Madras Eailway the Salem forests 
were recklessly denuded. In the year 1859-60 seigniorage fees 
amounting to nearly Es. 23,500 were realised on sleepers alone, 
the number of sleepers supplied within the year being 245,743 ; so 
great was the demand that trees could not be marked fast enough, 
and felling was uncontrolled. These sleepers were not sawn but 
adzed, a process involving immense waste of material, for a log, 
however large, would only suffice for one sleeper. According to 
a report of 1863, " old stumps show that there used to be good 
sized teak on the hill forests, but now ryots fell saplings at night, 
, and there is not much left." Nor were the greedy contractors 

content with destroying all the teak. Fine satin-wood forests 
round Kottai-patti were entirely wiped out by them, and, before 
the new Forest Department could make itself felt, irreparable 
mischief was done. 

The next twenty years were years of experiment, and much 
bitter experience was gained. Experiments were made in 
nurseries and plantations in the merits and demerits of the 
license and voucher system, in departmental felling and in 
the exploitation of railway fuel, in exploration and in the 
settlement of boundary disputes, in the construction of forest 
roads, in the formation of reserves and in the shortcomings 
of the Law. In 1861-62 there was wholesale theft of timber 



along the Kaveri banks ; the stolen wood was floated down- CHAP. V 
stream to Srirangam on bamboo rafts. In 1865 railway Forksts. 
contractors took to robbing tho Government forests of timber 
under cover of Mitta leases. In 1865 the eeignioragc of twelve 
annas for 48 large bamboos and six pies per bundle of small 
bamboos, imposed in 1861, was removed, and such enormous 
quantities were exported into Mysore in consequence, that 
seigniorage had to be reintroduced in the following year. In 
1866-67, hundreds of thousands of trees were illicitly felled 
by cattle drivers, and Government were helpless because the 
magistracy refused to convict for theft. In 1870 the Conservator 
writes, " Government have only to look at the amount of 
timber taken free out of the Salem jungles alone, to see that no 
forests could possibly stand a drain of this nature " ; a rather 
dispiriting comment on ten years' work. In the following year 
it was decided to place the Forest Department under the direct 
control of the Collector, who hitherto had managed the Jungle 
Conservancy Department with the aid of local cesses independently. 
This change was brought into force on 1st October 1872 and 
continued for a decade with rather more encouraging results. By 
1880 no less than 222 isolated ^ topes had been set apart as jungle 
conservancy topes, and twelve reserves had been surveyed and 
demarcated for the supply of fuel to the Madras Eailway, and 
walled or fenced at some cost. 

Until the year 1902 the forests of the District were under the 
charge of a single District Forest Officer ; since then, there have 
been various changes, the Tiruppattur and Namakkal Taluks 
having been transferred to the Norrh Arcot and Trichinopoly 
Districts, respectively, and two District Forest Charges (North and 
South) being formed ; these are divided roughly by a line start- 
ing on the Kaveri near Ptilampatti and running to Salem, thence 
following the road to the foot of the Shevaroys and the bridle- 
path to Yercaud, the road from Yercaud to Nagalur and thence 
down to near Bommidi along the western side of the Yerimalai 
reserved forest and then along the northern boundary of the 
tJttankarai Taluk to tho North Arcot border. The North Salem 
Forest District now consists of the following Ranges — Anchetti, 
Denkani-kota, Erishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Kaveri and Salem West ; 
those in the South Salem District are Ohitteri, Hartir, Papireddi- 
patti, East Salem and Atttir. 

Scientific conservancy begins with the passing of the Madras Reservation. 
Forest Act V of 1882. In the first few years subsequent to the 

^ Salem Taluk 38, Atttxr 15, Namakkal 18, Tiruchengodu 16, Hosur 38, 
Dharmapuri 29, Krishnagiri 22, tJttankarai 31, and Tiruppattur 15. 



CHAP. V. passing of this Act, the policy of the Goverumeat towards rcscr- 
FoREsTs. vation changed several times, as knowledge of the working of 
the Act improved ; thus, at first, it was intended to set aside 
certain areas outside the reserved forests, as village forests ; it 
was soon found that the village officers could not be trusted to 
manage these areas for the benefit of the village community in 
general, and the idea of village forests was abandoned, the 
Government reserves being extended so as to include the arena 
originally left out for village forests. The result was that in 
some places the reserves were brought so close to cultivated lands 
that there was insufiicient ground left available for extension of 
cultivation, and the sudden absorption of all the laud fit for 
pasturing the village herds into reserved forests, in which free 
pasture was not allowed, caused so much ill feeling, that orders 
were issued to put back reserve boundaries, so as to leave outside 
them sufficient waste land for the extension of cultivation, and 
the exercise of ordinary communal privileges. The result of 
these changes of policy was to delay the fiual selection and settle- 
ment of Government reserves, and to create, at each change of 
policy, a fresh set of bouudarj lines. From 1800 till 1898 a 
special party from the Survey of India was engaged in surveying 
the reserved forests, and many of the maps bear evidence of the 
changes then taking place, as they show boundary linos and 
reserves which have since been abandoned. 

The first notifications of reservation were published in 1886, 
the included area being 550,614 acres. Since then the work of 
reservation has proceeded actively, as the subjoined figures show: — 


Total reserved 

in acres. 

in 8q. uiiles. 





1910-11 1 




Forest settlement is now practically completed, and it is not 
likely under existing conditions that the area under Eeservation 
will bo materially increased. The area of the unreserved 
Government Forest in the District is roughly estimated at 1,000 

^ T)ie fignres from 1890 to 1906 include the reserves of Namakkal and Tirup- 
pattOr Taluks, those for 1910-11 exclude them. 




square milos, but this includes several hills almost devoid of CHAP. V. 
vogotatiou.l Forests. 

The principal groups of forests are the following : — Distribution 

The Kolli-malais in Attur Tahik, occupying^ the northern o\' licserves. 
slopes of the Kolli-malai Hills from the cultivated plateau to the 
base of the hills, with an area of a little over 16 square miles. 

The Pachai-malais on the south border of Attur Taluk ; the 
reserves cover a comparatively small portion of the hills, their 
extent being over 30 square miles. 

The Kalrayan and Jadaya-Kavundan slopes in the north of 
Atttir Taluk, the former of which were decided to be Government 
property after considerable litigation ; this chain of reserves forms 
an unbroken line from the east of Tumbal to the South Arcot 
District boundary, and covers over 60 square miles. 

The Chitteris, extending north and east of the above, partly 
in Salem and partly in Uttankarai Taluks, where they extend north 
as far as Tirta-malai, and cover 250 square miles, of which only 
36 lie in Salem Taluk. 

The ShevaroySj comprising the outer slopes on all sides of the 
well-known Shovaroy Hills, and one or two of the interior valleys. 
This group, which, with the exception of one small isolated 
reserve in the interior, forms one block of forest, is typical of the 
manner in which the reserves have been gradually built up, for it 
consists of no less than 26 separate reserves, with a total area of 
113 square miles. 

Finally, the large mass of forest lying between Pennagaram 
and Dcnkani-kota, extending along the Kaveri from its junction 
with the Sanat-kumara-nadi to the frontier of Mysore, and cover- 
ing an area of 400 square miles. 

There are minor chains of reserves, one connecting the last 

mentioned block with the Shova- 
roy s, across the south of Dharma- 
puri Taluk, another in the nor- 
thern portion of Krishnagiri 
Taluk, and a third along the 
Kaveri in Salem' and Tiruchen- 
godu Taluks. The area under 
reservation in each of the eight 
taluks is shown in the mar- 
gin. Lists of Eeserves are given 
in Chapter XV. 

Area of 


Forest in 

square miles. 













Krishnagiri ... 




^ In Salem South 11,620 acres have been notified under section 4 of the Forest 
Aot as proposed reserved forest. The settlement of 29,280 acres of the Hudd- 
durgam proposed reserve in the Hosilr Taluk is almost completed. 






So lonf^ as tlie full time cf the disirict staff was devoted to 
the proliminarj formation of reserves, systematic forestry could 
not be attended to. The first regular workings plan was sanctioned 
in 1900. Since then rapid progress has been made, and up 
to date woiking plans have been prepared for all the ranges in 
Salem South, except six reserves in IJttaukarai Taluk ; in Salom 
North, working plans have been sanctioned for the Krishnagiri and 
parts of the Kaveri and Salem West Eanges and are imder prepa- 
ration for Dharmapuri Range and for sandal-wood in Hosnr Taluk. 

The aim of the Forest Department is to improve and protect 
existing growth so that a sustained yield may be assured. 

The chief items of produce are (1) Timber, (2) Fuel, (3) Char- 
coal, (4) Bamboos, (5) Sandal, (6) Grazing, (7) Manure Leaves, 
and (8j Minor Produce. 

In 1893 what are termed " located fellings" were introduced ; 
under this system the area to be exploited «vas demarcated and tho 
purchasers of permits had to go and cut in this locality — this was a 
great improvement on the previous system under which the holder 
of a permit was at liberty to go wherever he wished and take 
what ho wanted, as it rendered supervision so much easier ; this 
system was started, and gradually elaborated by Mr. Brasier, who 
had done similar work in Tinncvelly hofore his transfer to Salom, 
into a regular scries of coupes under which the area felled was, as 
far as possible, in inverse proportion to the volume of timber and 
fuel which might be obtained from the area ; in other words, the 
poorer the growth, the larger was the area proposed to be cut 

As already stated, the first working plans were sanctioned in 
1900 ; they were prepared under Mr. Bruaier's auspices ; the system 
followed has been that of " Coppice with Standards ", tho number 
of standards varying between 15 and 2o and the rotation varying 
from between 20 and 30 years to 32 in the Lokiir and 36 in the 
Krishnagiri Working Circles. The area of the coupes varies bet- 
ween a minimum of 44 acres and a maximum of 836 acres, 
principally due to the probable demand and to the area in any one 
locality which waa available for exploitation. The larger coupes 
are situated near the railway, and within a distance of 20 miles of 
Salem town, and were at first worked departmental ly with a view 
to supplying the Madras Bailway (now South Indian Eailway) 
with the fuel needed for running. The departmental supply began 
in 1892 with a contract for 200 tons a month, and was raised in 
1894 to 500 tons, in 1896 to 1,200 and in 1899 to 2,200 tons per 
mensem. During the next three years the supply gradually fell 
to 1,150 tons a month and after 19D6 only small quantities of 


lighting fuel were taken, as the Railway took to tlie use of coal : CHAP. V. 
thenceforward the principal demand has been from Salem town. Forksts. 

Coupes are now sold to contractors who carry out the felling 
and removal of the produce, fix their own rates of sale, and main- 
tain their own depots. 

The growth in the plains and up to a height of about 3,000 
feet is for the most part deciduous ; the evergreen forest gradually 
spreads, from a narrow fringe of trees along the streams to what 
must at one time have been large masses of dense virgin forest 
especially on the Shevaroys and Kolli-malais : these have, however, 
largely disappeared owing to the exigencies of the coffee industry 
and the demands of the Malaiyali population for further lands 
for cultivation. 

Timber is seldom available of any large size ; the commoner Timber, 
species are — 

Chloroxylon swietenia which is nearly universal, Anogeissus 
lati/oltn, the Albizziaa, Hardivic/iia binata, Azadirachta indica^Cedrela 
ioona, and various Acacias^ Eugenia jambolana, HolopteJea integri- 
folia, Gmelina arborea and in places Terminalia Arjuna : Teak, 
Pterocarpus marsupium, Bridelia retusa, Bischofia javanica, Elaeo- 
carpus species also occur on the higher slopes ; existing stumps 
show that the teak used to grow to a fair size on the Shevaroys. 
There are, of course, numerous other species used for timber. 

Albizzia amara is almost universally preferred for fuel, and Fuel. 
in the more accessible forests this species probably forms about 
50 per cent, of the growth ; the other commoner species arc — ■ 

Wrightia tinctoria, Premna tomentosa^ Canthiuin didymum 
and Erythroxylon monogynum. 

The growth of grass and bamboo renders many of the Fire-protec- 
forests especially subject to damage by fires ; consequently coupes *^""" 
under felling and those which have been felled within the lasb five 
years are specially protected by clearing the lines round them and 
employing a number of fire patrols who are supposed to keep the 
lilies clear of inflammable materials, and to be always ready to 
proceed at once to any fires which may occur and to extinguish 
them. The same procedure is in force for some other areas in the 
Hosur Hills with a improving the growth which, especially 
along the Kaveri, consists of nearly pure Hardwickia forest. Fires 
principally occur during February and March, thunder storms in 
April and May, as a rule, putting an end to the fire season. 

Under the Jungle Conservancy, a considerable amount of Cuitnral 
work was undertaken in planting Tamarind and Mango near Operations, 
villages ; this was later on superseded by the sowing of seed in 
patches, or broad-cast, in blanks in the coupes when regular 







•working "was instituted, tlie principal tree species put out being 
Tamarind, Albizzia Lebbek, Albtzzla oinara, Chloroxylon sicietenia, 
Azadirachia indica, Acacia sundra, and Acacia ferruginea ; with 
these were mixed seeds of various shrubs, e.g., Cassia auriculata, 
Cassia fisiuln^ useful for tanning bai-k and manure leaves, and such 
other species as Dodoncea rtscosa, Randia dunieiorum, Car.t/nuin 
parvijiorum and others, which would protect auj tree seed which 
germinated ; a certain amount of seed of Tephrosia purpurea, 
which is largely used for leaf manure, was also put out. In 
Sanniyasi-malai on the Shevaroys a sum of nearly Es. 9,000 has 
been spent up to date in fire- protection and in planting out 
Grevillea robusta, FrencUa rhomboidea and Acacia dealbata in the 
north and oast, in the hope of covering the soil and so improving 
the water-supply in the streams below. In 1913 sandal seed 
was dibbled in in patches over an extent of about 50 acres of 
scrub in the Nagara-raalai reserve at a small expense, and so far 
(1915) the results seem promising. 

The small bamboo {Dcndrocahmus strictufi) is one of the most 
valuable assets of the Salem Forests; it flourishes at any elevation 
between 1,000' and 4,000'. The finest Bamboo area in fchc District 
is the forest tract on the west of Hosur and Dharmapuri Taluks. 
Bamboo is also extensively exploited on the Shevaroys, Cliitteris, 
Kalrayaus, Pachai-malais, Kolli-malais, Arannttu-malais and 
on the east of the Boda-malais. The large bamboo {Bambusn 
arundmacea) is not so Tibiquitous, but it is found in fairly large 
quantities in valleys and near the banks of streams. It occurs in 
gi'cat abundance between Kompakarai and the Ane-bidda-halla, 
and is common between Pennagaram and Javulagiri and also 
on the Shevaroys. 

Bamboo coupes are sold to contractors when a reasonable 
price can be got ; in other cases permits are issued to meet the 
local demand; the rotation varies between three and five years. 
The chief markets for bamboos outside the District arc Erode, 
Trichinopoly, Karur and Madras. 

The best quality of sandal-wood is found in the forests of 
Denkani-kota. It is not uncommon in the Chittoris, Shevaroys, 
Pachai-malais and Kolli-malais, but the quality is not so good as 
that from Denkani-kota and the quantity is far less. The value 
of the sandal-wood in the District was appreciated as soon as the 
Company came into possession. Buchanan, speaking of what 
was then the Alambadi District (i.e., Taluk), says, " Captain 
Grraham sold a renter all the trees that were fit for cutting and 
received for them 300 pagodas. The condition of the sale was 
that only the old full-grown trees should be cut, but the fellow 


























has taken every stick of anv size, and there will be no more fit for chap, V, 

cutting in less than ten years. 

Sandal-wood is always collected departmentally. A Eanger 
or Forester selects ^ the trees to be felled, marks, numbers and 
measures them, submitting a copy of his measurement list for 
approval. On receipt of this the trees are dug np, roots and 
all, cut into sections, roughly dressed so as to remove bark and 
sap-wood, and then removed to depot. Each piece of each tree is 
marked with the number given originally to the standing tree, so 
that it is possible to reconstruct each tree in depot, and thus to 
check any tendency to thoft ; after check in depot, the wood is 
carefully cleaned of all' sap-wood, sawn into 
convenient lengths, and classified into first, 
second, third class billets, first and second 
class roots, etc., down to class VIII, which 
is sawdust. Auctions used to be held 
periodically, when good billets realized nearly 
seven annas a pound. In future the fellings 
are to be transferred to a central depot, 
probably at Tiruppattur, for sale. The 
marginal statement shows the quantity of 
sandal felled at different periods. 
Asa general rule coupes worked on the " Coppice with Standard" Ciiaziiig. 
system are closed to grazing one year before, and five years after 
felling. In Ilarur Working Circle, owing to poverty of growth, 
the period of closure is ten years (two years before and eight years 
after felling). Some specially protected blocks are closed against 
grazing throughout the whole period of rotation. On the Kalrayans 
grazing is combined with manure-leaf cutting under the " pastoral 
method" (p. 256). 

The grazing fees authorised under section 26 of Act V of 1882 
were not brought into force in the District till 1888. The license 
system, worked by a contractor for commission, was introduced in 
1889, the rate being two annas per buffalo, one anna per head of 
cattle, and six pies per sheep. In 1893 this was superseded by the 
system of half-rates for privileged and other cattle, worked through 
karnams. Then in 1896 came the issue of permits by Range 
Ofiicers and travelling '* Permit Issuing Officers," at 6 annas 
per buffalo, 3 annas per head of cattle and li annas per sheep. 
Goats were altogether forbidden the reserves. In 1899, however, 

^ The original rule was to mark for felling all dead and dying trees and only 
such, green trees as were orer 30" in girth at breast height. After 1904 the 
minimum girth for exploitable trees was raised to 36". Removals are now (1915) 
restricted to dead and dying trees pending the introduction of a working plan 
which is uuder preparation. 






certain areas were set aside for browsing, the rate being 1| aunas 
per goat, but in South Salem these were again closed in 1905-06. 
In 1902 the fees for goat browsing in North Salem was raised 
to 8 annas a head, and in 1914 goat browsing was altogether 
prohibited. After the introduction of Working Plans, the 
Reserves wore divided into grazing blocks, some of which extend 
to more than one reserve. A permit holds good from July to the 
end of the following June, and gives access to one grazing block 

To compensate for the closing of coupes to grazing, 
and to educate the villagers to fire-protection, ryots are 
encouraged to remove grass for fodder from closed areas. 
Even in specially protected blocks, grass-cutting is permitted 
in seasons of scarcity. The grass most commonly cut for fodder 
is Andropogon contorlus. 

The local demand for manure leaves is almost confined 
to Salem and xV.ttur Taluks, and thousands of tons arc exported 
annually to the adjoining taluks of Trichinopoly and South 
Arcot. In the Northern Division it is held that the 
Eeserves are insufiicient to supply the population with all its 
requirements in fuel, timber, grazing, etc., and that the supjjly 
of manure leaves is incompatible with the persistence of the 
forests. It is estimated that between 2 and 3 tons of leaves are 
required to manure one acre of wet land. Manure loaves 
may be removed from unreserved lands without charge by 
the inhabitants of adjoining villages. As to Eeserves, till 1890 
the permit system was in force, and from 1895 the right to 
remove the leaves of Turinji, Nux-vomica and all unclassified 
trees was leased out annually. But with the gradual introduction 
of Working Plans came the system of " limited manure-leaf 
coupes " in the Salem East and Attur Ranges, and the closure 
altogether of manure-leaf cutting areas in Salem West and the 
two Hartir Ranges. In Salem South no removals of manure-leaf 
have been allowed from reserves since 1912. 

On the " Upper Slopes " of the Kalrayau Hills in Attur Range 
the method adopted for exploiting manure-leaf and grazing is that 
known as the " pastoral method." The area to be treated is 
divided into four coupes, and each coupe in turn serves as an 
annual cutting area for five years, during each of which all scrub 
and young trees of the third class (except minor produce trees) 
and inferior species may be pollarded. After the close of the 
manure-leaf season in the fifth year, the trees are coppiced, and 
then given a rest for 15 years. After a coupe is coppiced it is 
closed to grazing for five years, during which, however, the removal 



of grass for fodder and thatching is permitted on payment. After CHAP, V. 
the period of olosure expires, the coupe is open to grazing for 15 F/)ue8T3. 

In the early days of forestry the minor produce was not under Minor 
the control of the Forest Dopartmout, but its collection was either P'''^'i"°^- 
free or it was leased by the Collocfcor. The riglit to collect minor 
produce was first leased out by the Forest Department in 1883, 
when one contract covered the whole District. In 1896 a separate 
lease was granted for each Eevenuo Division^ and from 1901 anew 
system was introduced under which the produce of reserves was 
leased by reserves, that of unreserved lands by Eevenue Inspectors' 
firkas. More recently the lots have been still further reduced by 
selling the produce of unreserved lands by villages, or groups of 
villages, in the hope of realising more revenue. 

Eoads are maintained by the Forest Department in Salem Koads. 
North Division : (1) from Kadaiyampatti to Kurumba-patti (8 
miles), (2) from Kumbara-patti to the foot of the Shevaroys (5 
miles), (3) from PalakSdu to Kosarguli (16 miles), (4) from Penna- 
garam to Anchetti, via Ane-bidda-halla (27 miles), (5) from Den- 
kani-kota to Ayyur (8 miles), and (6) from Kundu-kota to Anchetti 
(8 miles). In ^alem South Division the principal roads main- 
tained by the Forest Department are (1) Mallapuram Ghat Road 
(9 miles), (2) Harnr to Kambalai (9 miles), (3j Kombuthukki to 
Papireddipatti bridle path (8|^ miles), (4) Ohitteri to Velli- 
madurai bridle path (8 miles), (5) Periyakombai to Pusinikuli 
bridle path (6 miles). 

The gross revenue derived from Forests shows a steady in- Revenue 
crease during the past 30 years, though from year to year ,the net 
revenue fluctuates with the expenditure on conservation and ex- 

The subjoined figures are of interest. 


Gross Revenoe. 


Net Revenue, 
















1910-11 ^ 








1 Ttie figures for 1910-1] exclude Namakkal and Tirnppattur, the statistics 
for the previous decades include those tracts. 



CHAP. V. The chief heads of revenue in 1910-11 were as follows ; — 




N orth. 









Firewood and charcoal 








Sandalwood ... 








Minor produce and manare leaf 




" Forest Offences " usually take the form of illicit removal of 
produce, or illicit grazing. The amount of crime fluctuates, but 
there is no reason to believe that Forest Offencics arc on the 
increase. The annexed statement shows the number of cases 
which the Department has to cope with. More than half the 
crimes are compounded : — 




















' 95 








Occupations. — Pasture — Oattlo 'breeding. 

IxD0sTRiEs.— (1) Textiles (a) Under Read, (6) Present Condition— Chief Ceu- 
tres — Woollen Weaving — Cotton Ginning and Spinning— Cotton Weaving — 
Miscellaneous Goods — Methods— (a.) Warping and Sizing- (5) Looms — 
Salem Weaving Factory— (.2) Dyeing— (3) Cloth Printing— (4) Oils— 
(5) Tanning— (6) Iron— (7) Steel— (8) Brass— (9) Charcoal— (10) Baskets and 
Mats— (11) Fibres -(12) Indigo— (13) Stone- (14) Missellaneous, 

Trade.— Weekly Markets— Chief Trades and Traders— Trade in (0 Grain— (2) 
Cloth— (3) Cattle— (4) Salt— (5) Oil- Rail-borne Trade. 

Weights and Measukes. — Weights — Scales — Measures of Capacity — Measures 
of Length — Land Measure — Time —Money. 

In 1911, of the total population, 73 per cent depended on Occupations. 
agriculture for livelihood and 13 per cent, on industries. Those 
dependent on commerce, including transport, numbered only 5 per 
cent.^ The economic status of agricalture has been dealt with on 
pp. 240-7, and no remarks are needed here. 

According to the Census Returns of 1911, some 15,000 per- Pasture, 
sons were dependent on pasture for their living. This represents ^ 

professional graziers and breeders, but, as a very large number of 
ryots have stock of their own, the Census figures do not adequately 
represent the importance of pasture in the economy of the District. 

The forest included in the Pennagaram Division, the southern Cattle-treed- 
portion of Denkani-k5ta. Division and the Kollegal Taluk of '°°' 
Coimbatore, a fairly compact block, many hundred square miles in 
area, stretching on either side of the Kaveri, is one of the most 
famous cattle-breeding grounds in South India. In Hosur Taluk 
calves are not uncommonly entrusted by their owners to ryots or 
agricultural labourers to be reared on a vdram system : if the animal 
be a female, the person who rears it is entitled to the first calf or 

1 The actual figures 

are — 







Professions, etc. 









OHAP. 71. 


(1) Textiles. 
A. Under 

first two calves dropped by it ; if it be a bull, he receives half its 
estimated value at the time he returns it to its owner. 

By far the most important industry in the District is that of 
weaving. It is not easy to conjecture why large colonies of the 
weaving castes should have settled in a tract, the history of which 
is characterised by so many centuries of political inquietude. 
The fact remains, however, that, within a few months after the 
Treaty of 1792 was ratified, Salem was selected by the Board as a 
suitable field for establishing an " Investment ", and in July 1792 ^ 
Read was informed that Mr. Mitchell, Export Warehouse Keeper 
at Madras, would be deputed to exploit the textile industries of 
the " Salem Country ". In October of the same year Mr. Robert 
Dashwood took up his residence at Salem as Commercial 
Eesident, and Read was called upon to provide him with money.^ 

At the very outset friction seems to have arisou over the supply 
of labour, one of the chief difiicultios being the taxes that weavers 
had to pay. In the Northern Division, for instance, not only 
were the weavers saddled with loom-tax and house -tax ^, they 
were also liable to pay Siiydr dues,* and chuppa, or stamp duty, 
exacted by the Sdj/ar farmer. In Krishiiagiri special taxes were 
levied on Pariah weavers in addition to the loom-tax, and in Kam- 
baya-nalltir special fees were due by weavers to the village account- 
ants. Even before the arrival of Mr. . Dashwood, Read had 
notified ^ the abolition of the loom-tax on every loom employed 
bj the Company, and house-tax was levied on all weavers in pro- 
portion to the number of looms they had which were not in the 
Company's employ. The irksome dues payable to the Sayar 
farmers, however, remained matter for acrid comment for two 
years longer. 

The methods of recruiting labour appear somewhat drastic. 
Read, writing on 19th (Jctober 1792,*^ iuformed Mr. Dashwood 
that he bad sent stringent orders " directing weavers of ewery 
denomination to obey your summons without least delay or hesi- 
tation, on pain of being very severely punished ". Not uuuaturally 
this procedure evoked protests, and Muiiro, in a letter dated 
23rd November 1792/ expresses a fear that "anything like con- 
straint being used would prevent many who were still in Tipu's 
country from returning to their old habitation ". It was alleged 
by the weavers of Malla-samudram that their engagements with 
the Company " were not voluntary, but forced upon them by native 

^ fress list of Ancient Records \a Silem District (1906) No. Go. 

^ Ancient Records, No. 75. 3 See Vol. II, p. 12, Motarpha. 

* See Vol. II, p. 67. « Anc. Rec. No. 76. 

« Attc. Rec. No. 76, ' Rec. No. 91. 


agonta, by throats of pimishmeuta. and in some instances by CHAP. VI. 
actual eoutiuenient,". while the weaveis of Tiruchougodu wore Ini'ustkieh. 
" likewise obliged to pay Mr. Dash wood's Dubash ten rupees for Textiles, 
every thousand advanced . . . . and were they to refuse to 
comply with this demand, he would register cloth of the first sort 
among that of the second, and by this means iuour a much heavier 
loss." It was admitted that the terms offered by the Company's 
agents would have been profitable before the War, but, since the 
War, the price of thread had risen so sharply, that they could only 
carry out their contracts at a loss. In conclusion Munro recom- 
mends that the Company should pay a higher price for their cloth 
and so place their employees on an equal footing with those who 
worked for themselves. Above all, the contracts should be 
" voluntary, and for a specific term, at bhe end of which they should 
be at liberty to renew the in or not as they chose, for at present, 
they are alarmed at the idea of working for the Company, conceiv- 
ing it to be a kind of bondage from which they must never hope 
to escape ". 

A statement dated 31st January 1793,^ gives the number of 
looms in the Southern Division as 1 790, of which 488 were worked 
by the Company. The number of looms for the Northern Division 
was 631, of which 117 were exempted from taxes. An estimate 
for the Centre Division, based on accounts of 1789-90, gives the 
total number of looms at J ,627. The District total would therefore 
be about 4,048. Bead appears on his own authority to have 
exempted weavers employed in the Company's " Investment " from 
duties on cotton thread, and in March 1793, the Board suggested 
to the Government that a general remission of these duties should 
be granted; but Government ordered (16th March 1893) that " as 
the weavers in the Ceded Districts were not exempted from the 
duties on cotton thread, they must continue to pay it in common 
with others." In May 1793, however, Government freed the 
Company's weavers, not only from all taxes on their houses and 
back-yards, but also from all imposts on the raw materials required 
for their manufacture, including the import duties on yarn, and in 
September 1794, the general abolition of the loom- tax was 

Meanwhile matters did not improve, and on J 1th October 1793 
Muuro penned a strongly worded letter. to Read which deserves 
quoting •' : — 

" You have given all yonr attention to the ryots and abandoned 
the weavers to a set of rascally dubashes. I wrote you a good deal 

1 Anc. Eec.No. 100. ' Anc. Sec. No. 160. ^ ^^^ ^^^^ jjq_ jgj^ 

262 SALEM. 

CHAP. VI. about them last year, and they are no better off this. All of them have 

iNDiiHTRiie. been forced to work for the Company, and whenever they do anything 

_, ~ for themselves it is by stealth. It is well for us that Tipu's distresses 

Textiles. , , . -in 1 • 

and his nature makes him tyrannical, ior were the oppression not very 

great on the other side, I am convinced w.o should have soon lost most 

of our weavers." 

Again, in March 1794/ Munro had occasion to complain to 
Read of zulum on the part of the Commercial Resident's agents, 
this time in connection with the transport of yarn. 

In November of the same year Read strongly recommended ^ 
•'* the total abolition of road duties on all exports, the productions 
of those districts," but this the Board (26th November 1894) would 
not consent to,^ insisting on the levy of such duties on manufac- 
tured cloth. 

Some time prior to August 1795, Mr. Charles Carpenter* had 
superseded Mr. Dashxvood as Commercial Resident, and under him 
things seem to have gone more smoothly. In November 1795,* 
Carpenter informed Read of the proposal of the Board of Trade to 
establish a bleaching green at Salem, and asked him how many 
dhobies could be procured in the BaramaLal for the Company. 
The cloths to be bleached wore (1) Long cloth and (2) Salempores, ^ 
each of three qualities, ordinary, middling, aud superfine. (3) 
Moorees of three qualities, ordinary, fine and superfine, and (4) 
Ginghams, of two kinds, one red-stripod and the other blue. Read 
replied ' to the effect that he summoned all the washermen in 
three " districts," and " they all said that bleaching was a business 
they did not understand, that they thought they could not do it to 
his (the Resident's) satisfaction, and that if they were to leave their 
villages they would lose their situation, which afforded them a 
permanent provision for life, which their families had enjoyed 
from time immemorial." 

It is hardly necessary to follow the further history of the 
Company's " Investment." Carpenter died in 1818, and his place 
was taken by Mr. J. M. Heath/ who retired from the Company's 
service, sold his property to Mr. G. F. Fischer, and sank his 

» Auc. liec. No. 146 J Cf. No. 15C of 15th Julj 179*. 

* Anc. Rec. No. 176. 
« Anc Rec. No. 180: 

* Brother-in-law of Sir Walter Scott, See Vol. IT, p. 243. 
» A71C. Rec. No. 243. 

< Also spelt " Sallampores " or " Salempoorys " ; a coarBe dungroe cloth 
usaally dyed blue with iiidig:o 
' Anc. Rec. No, 246. 
« See p. 273. 


fortune in tlie Porto Novo Iron Compauy. It is not exactly known CHAP. VI. 

whon the Salom " Investment " ceased to exist. Industries. 

From the Census iveturns for 1911 it appears that 88,727 Textiles- 
people returned themselves as belonging to one or other of the «• Present » 

. o 1 T\ n i. -iL- J Condition. 

following four weaving castes: — bale, Devanga, ratnnlkaran and 
Kaikolan, but only 83,005 were returned as supported by this 
occupation There are a large number of men of other castes also 
who have taken to weaving for b living, among them being 
Muhammadans, Kavai ais, Pallis and Sembadavans. Many of the 
weavers possess looms of their own. and they take their finished 
goods every evening to the bazaar and offer them for sale. There 
are also a largo number of weavers, somewhat lower in the social 
scale, who work for hire, being employed by richer men who own 
three or four looms each. There is yet another class of weavers, 
comparatively small in number, who take orders from cloth 
merchants, and receive advances to carry out tbe same. They 
represent the highest development of the weaving community. 

The chief ceatres of the industry are: — Salem Town, Easi- Chief Centres, 
puram, Attayampatti and Grurusami-palaiyam ^ in Salena Taluk ; 
Omalur, Tara-mangalam and Jalakantapuram iu Omaltir Taluk ; 
Tiruchengodu, Edappadi and Kumara-palaiyam in Tiruchengddu 
Taluk ; Atttir, Aragalur, Veppampundi and Kamakshi-palaiyam 
in Attur Taluk ; Dharmapuri and Matam in Dharmapuri Taluk ; 
IJttaukarai, Singarapet, Irula-patti, Menisi, Kambaya-nallnr and 
Kallavi in Uttankarai Taluk ; Krishnagiri and Hosur. 

All classes of goods are manufactured in the District — woollen 
rugs and kainblis^ cotton veshth and pudavais, and silk vastrama 
and saris. 

Wool is used for making coarse rugs and blankets commonly Woollen 
caUed hamblis. Weaving. 

(a) Hugs. — For the rugs which are made in Salem Town^ 
wool is obtained from the Mysore plateau through Bangalore, and 
is delivered to the weavers spun into a coarse yarn ready to be 
dyed. The rugs are of an inferior quality, and sell at prices 
ranging from H.l to Es. 2^. 

(6) Kamblis are very extensively woven all over the District 
by Kurubas. The Kurubas purchase wool from flock owners, and 
their women spin it, using a distaff and spindle. 'J^he process of 
makiug kamblis is an extremely primitive one. A kambli is made 
in two pieces, eacb measuring 8' x 3' which, when complete, are 
stitched together This joint is a source of weakness, and might 

^ The account of weaving that follows has been kindly supplied hj 
Mr. Alfred Chatterton. 

* In Pillanallur Taraf, Basipuram Division. 





Ginning and 

Cotton Weav. 

be readily avoided by using a wider loom. The spim wool is 
warped on pegs and stretched on a country pit-loom with no 
treadles. It is heavily sized with tamarind lanji. Only one warp 
is put on the loom at a time, as the wool is so lightly spun that it 
will not stand any considerable amount of handling. At Berikai 
a small industry exists in the manufacture of felt namdas. 

Tlie hand-ginning and hand-spinning of cotton as industries 
are extinct. The charko has succumbed to the powor-driven gin, 
eyen as the distaff and spindle or spinning-wheel have given place 
to the modem spinning- mill. On a very limited scale hand- 
ginning and spinning are still said to be carried on in a few 
places, but it is a purely subsidiary business. The hand-gin or 
charka consists of two wooden rollers mounted on a frame, and 
connected by crudely made wooden spur-wheels so that, when 
turned by a handle, the rollers revolve in opposite directions. The 
kapyas are presented to the rollers, and the lint passes through, 
whilst the seeds remain behind. The lint is then carded into 
^mall sausage-shaped rolls {iiranai) handy for the spinner. For 
spinning, the dittafi" is net employed, but only a spindle made in 
the form of a disc of pot-stone. Moie frequently the cotton is 
spun on to a bobbin of cliolam stalk, which is fixed to the spindle 
of a hand-spinning wheel. The flyer, well-known in Europe in 
the eighteenth century, is never used. 

The coarsest of cotton goodH are termed duppattis, and (hey are 
largely made in and about Attayampatti and Tattaiyanagarpatti 
by Kaikolars, and in a few villages of the Bagalur Palaiyam by 
Pariahs. Luppaiiis are very coarse cloths made of cotton of 
counts below 20'8, which is obtained from the spinning mills at 
Coimbatore, Calicut, Madura and Tinnevelly. The^ are largely 
used in the cold weather, and the demand for them is extremely 
steady. The price varies with size, and ranges from Es. 1^ to 
Bs. 2| a piece. Men's cloths of pure cotton and without any ad- 
mixture of silk are not largely used, impoited piece goods having 
taken their place, but amongst women there is a distinct preference 
for hand-woven cloths, and the industry is still an important one. 
They are made all over the District, but the chief centre is Gugai, 
a division of Salem. The weavers are Kanarcse-speaking Devan- 
gas. The cloths are of several qualities, and vary in price from 
Es. 3 to Es. 10 each. They are either black or red, and may be 
quite plain, or furnished with ornamental borders. Usually the 
cloths have a continuous weft running from edge to edge, but in 
some cases the borders, which are of a different colour to the rest 
of the cloth, are what is termed " solid "; that is to say, the weft 
is not run continuously from edge to edge, but each border ha£ 


its own wet'r ingooiously liiikod to the woft forminj^ the body CHAP. VI, 
of the ch)th. For weaving suoh cloths three shuttles are Industkies. 
necessary, and the weaver is generally assisted by a boy Textiles, 
■who plies one of the border shuttles. 8uch cloths cannot bo 
made in power-looms, and the labour of making them is 
considerable, so that they are fairly expensive, and only worn 
by well-to-do people. In plain cotton cloths, even in those 
with solid borders, the ornamentation is of an extremely simple 
character, and does not necessitate the use of the elaborate harness 
to be found in looms where cloths are made with solid silk borders. 

The Devangas of Gugai manufacture what is known as Kdngu Miscellaneous 
pudavais, which are very popular among tlie women of the middle "°°<^^- 
class. A favourite colour is purple, obtained by dyeing red yarn 
in indigo. A very large number of these pudavais is exported to 
Ceylon and the Straits Settlements. Most of the Gugai weavers 
carry on their trade independently of the middlemen, and a 
number of them have settled in Colombo and Singapore, where 
they carry on business. Unlike other weavers in Salem District, 
the Devangas of Gugai are a flourishing class, and the number of 
looms they employ is said to be steadily on the increase. The 
cloths are cheap, and are always in great demand, irrespective of 
Pougal and Dipavali or marriage seasons. The only other manu- 
factures of pure cotton arc " durries " or cotton carpets. They 
are chiefly made in Salem in the divisions of Gugai and Shevapet, 
and the weavers are mainly Patutilkarans. Bright shades of vari- 
ous colours are usually employed, and the patterns are obtained 
by arranging these colours in stripes of different widths. The 
commonest colours are blue and red, as these are the only fast 
colours which the Devangas of Gugai can produce with indigo and 
alizarine. Other colours arc employed, but they fade quickly. 
Coarse yarn is used for these " durries ". Three threads of 20 'a 
twisted are usually employed in the warp, whilst the weft is of single 
threads of from 6 to 1 0's. Very high class " durries " are made of 
English yarn of 40's, which is imported dyed of suitable colours. 

Men's cloths. — What are popularly called Salem veshtis may 
bo divided into two classes— those that have plain borders, and 
those that have solid borders. The plain borders are commonly of 
silk alone, but gold threads are sometimes used to form lines on 
the edge of the borders. The width of the borders varies from -g-" 
to 1" on the sides, and from I" to 2^" at the ends of the cloth. The 
yarn used is of counts varying from 40*8 to lOO's, and is imported. 
The cloths arc from 3 to 5 yards long each, and from 50" to 54" 
wide. They arc sold in pairs, and their values range from Es. 2 
to Rs. 12 a pair. 


266 SALEM. 

CHAP. VI, Arisi-palaiyam and Shevapet divisions of the town of Salem, 

iNDusiRiEs. ^^^ Ixasipuram and Grnrusami-palaij am in the Salem Talnk are 
the ehief centres where these cloths are made. Weavers engaged 
in this work are Telngn-speaking Devanjias and Saliyas in Salem, 
Patnulkarans chiefly in Kasipuram, and Kaikolars exclusively in 
Gumsami-palaiyam and Trira-mangalam. 

'* Solid bordered " cloths arc usually wider than plain borders, 
and not infrequently, with the silk threads of the warp, gold-laco 
is used. The patterns are somewhat elaborate, and necessitate the 
use of special harness of a very complicated character. The 
cloths are always made of fine cotton, and are sold in pairs, the 
prices varying from Es. 12 to Rs. 40 a pair. Solid bordered veshiis 
are made in Shevapet and Ponnammnpet by silk weavers, and by 
Kaikolars in Pavadi Street. Salem is the chief centre in the 
District for this branch, of the industry, and the only other place 
where it is carried on is IJasipuram, where Patnulkarans and 
other castes have taken it up. 

The Salem cloths have long enjoyed a reputation for their 
close textnre and their consequent durability. In recent years, 
however, this reputation has suffered, as the weavers and mer- 
chants have both resorted to devices which, whilst reducing the 
cost of production, have done so by sacrificing the quality. One 
trick is to use a more open spacing of the warp threads towards 
the centre of the cloth, whilst recently mercerised cotton or spun 
silk is employed in the borders instead of the indigenous reeled 
silk. It has not been recognised tliat spun silk requires different 
dye-stuffs from those which are used for reeled silk, with the result, 
that the colours produced are unsatisfactory and highly fugitive. 

At Shevapet turbans called pOttus are manufactured by De- 
vangas, most of whom are immigrants from Coimbatore. They 
are from 4 to 6 yards long, and from 24" to 27" broad. The 
warp is generally composed of cotton, and the weft of silk. Some 
of the turbans are plain, whilst others have borders of gold thread 
about half an inch wide. The turbans are usually made of dyed 
yarn, the most popular colour being an indigo sky-blue, and 
another shade of blue obtained by the use of coal-tar dyes. 
Women's cloths are also made of mixed cotton ami silk by silk wea- 
vers in Shevapet, and by Kaikolars in Aramapet. These cloths are 
distinct from those which are ornamented with silk borders. A 
large number of cloths of the latter kind are made to the order of 
merchants from South Kanara, some cf whom are permanently 
settled in Salem. There is also a certain amount of business in 
the manufacture of cloths for rich Muhammadans on the West 



The woavint^ of silk cloths is carried on only in »Salem Town, CHAP. VI. 
and the prodnets arc saris, nrumdlais (handkerchiefs) and pOltds. lNi>OflTBiEs. 
Urwndlais Ivive a scarJct ground, divided at regular intervals by Textiles, 
white stripea into squares. The size of the handkerchief is 2^ 
yards x 1 yard. For these urumdlais spun silk is used, either 
both ways, or for warp or for weft only ; similarly with peitds, which 
are from 4 to 6 yards long, and from 24" to 27" wide. For sans, 
on the other hand, only indigenous silk is used, obtained in a raw 
condition from Kollegal or Mysore. It is cleaned and reeled by 
Patnul women, and afterwards dyed to the colours required. 
Pudavats of pure silk are very costly, the price ranging from 
Es. 100 to Es. 200. They are generally made with silk borders 
in which a largo amount of gold lace is used in the warp. Figures 
of animals, birds and flowers are the usual form of decoration, 
whilst, in the body of the cloth, simple designs of flowers, or 
siiup>le geometrical patterns appear. 

The process of setting up the warp is one of the most familiar Methods. 
and picturesque sights of an Indian village. The village pdvadi anVslz^'"^ 
is a level stretch of ground set apart near the weavers' quarters, 
and is often well shaded witli tamarind trees. The warp is stretched 
on stone posts or stout bamboos, firmly fixed in the ground, by 
women who walk up and down the row of posts, each holding in 
the loft hand a light swift on which the thread is wound, and in 
the right hand a short bamboo stick carrying a hook at the 
end, by which they guide the thread in and out between the posts. 
The process is a very tedious one and involves on the part of the 
women many miles of walking to prepare a warp. When the 
warp is completed, it is handed over to the men, who take it off 
the posts, inserting split bamboos called lease-rods between the 
two layers of thread to preserve the arrangement. The next 
operation is to stretch the warp between two trestles firmly fixed on 
the ground, to arrange all the threads in regular parallel lines, 
and then to size it with kanji made of rice or kambu flour. This 
is laid on with brushes and well brushed, so that all the fibres of 
the cotton thread are drawn parallel to one another and well glued 
together.' This adds greatly to the strength of the warp, and as 
soon as it is dried, it is rolled up into a bundle, the lease-rods being 
carefully retained in position, and it is now ready to be put in the 
loom. This process has been briefly described because, in Salem 
Town at any rate, it has been almost entirely superseded by the 
hand warping-mill, of which several patterns are in use. In this 
respect Salem is in advance of all other weaving centres in the 
Presidency, as there are a large number of what may be termed 
warping factories solely engaged in the preparation of warps for 



CHAP. VI. the weavers. These are chiefly in the hands of KaikSlars and 
[ndustkies. Saliyas, and their clients are mainly Patiiulkarans. 

TextiieH. I'he commonest type of warping-mill consists of a drum about 

15' in diameter and 5' wide. It is very lightly constructed 
of wood and bamboos, and on its circiimferonce carries a number 
of rows of pegs. The yarn to he warped is wound on bobbins, 
which are arranged in a frame which may contain from 10 to 20 
bobbins. The threads arc guided on to the warping drum by 
hooks fixed in a fiat metal bar which stretches the whole width of 
the drum. By a simple piece of mechanism, driven from the asis 
of the wheel- this bar is given a reciprocating motJon, which causes 
the threads to pass on to the drum sinuously between the pegs, 
in one direction during tbo forward motion of the drum, and in 
the opposite direction when the motion is reversed, and thus enables 
the leases to be inserted to prevent the warp from getting hope- 
lesaly entangled when it is removed from the pegs. The mill is 
turned by hand, and as soon as it has made one revolution, it is 
turned back again, so that the length of the warp is practically 
twice the circumference of the mill. After the warp is removed 
from the mill, it is stretched on an open piece of ground, and sized 
in the usual way. The Saiem sizers are very expert in their work, 
and warps made in Saleiu are considered almost equal to those 
produced in Kumbakonam, These mills are of local construction, 
and are apparently of local design, as they do not appear to be 
used elsewhere, and are probably an ingenious adaptation of the old 
fashioned horizontal warping-mill used in Kurope. For short 
warps they are very efficient, but the method is not adapted for 
long warps, and the mill is not of a type which can be recommended 
for general adoption throughout the country. 

(6) Looms. There is nothing special about the looms employed for weaving 

in Salem District. They are all country looms, fitted with reeds 
and healds of local manufacture. For pattern-weaving elaborate 
harness worked on the " draw-boy " principle, similar to that 
which prevailed in Europe before the Jacquard attachment was 
invented, is employed ; but occasionally, for simple patterns in the 
borders, a dobby is attached to the loom. 

Salem Weav- An experimental factory was opened in Salem at the end of 

ing Factory ]90.5, and continued in existence till 1-910, when, owing to a 
severe outbreak of plague, it was temporarily closed. At about 
the same time orders were received from the Secretary of State to 
discontinue the working of experimental factories, and accordingly 
it was decided not to reopen the Salem factory. During the five 
years it was located at Salem,' from 40 to 60 looms of various 
improved types were kept at work, and a great variety of weaving 



experiments were made on what may be termed a commercial ('HAP. VI. 
scale. The factory did not meet witli that measure of success Induktrikh. 
which was originally anticipated, owing entirely to the difficulty Textiles, 
of dealing wi<h the weavers. Nevertheless the factory did much 
useful work, for although it did not suceecd in actually working 
at a profit, the cost of running it was small, and there is no 
doubt that it materially contributed to the success of the move- 
ment in favour of the use of the fly-shuttle slaj, which within 
the last few years has been adopted by many thousands of 

Salem was formerly celebrated for the excellence of the work (2) Dyeing, 
produced by its dyers, but since they have substituted imported 
coal-tar dyes for the natural vegetable products they formerly 
employed, the quality of their work has greatly deteriorated. 
Vegetable dyeing is now carried on to but a very limited extent, 
and it is almost certain that, when arrangements are made to 
provide proper instruction for dyers, it will disappear completely. 
At the present time a good deal of yarn of such colours as yellow 
and green is imported already dyed. 

Eaw silk is first cleaned by boiling it with fuller's earth. To 
produce a scarlet colour the silk is then soaked for a day in water 
containing one seer of alum and one seer of turmeric for every 
two visses of silk. Jungle lac, in the proportion of one maund 
to every three visses of silk, is powdered, boiling water is poured 
over it, and the mixture is well churned with a wooden pestle. 
The mixture is allowed to settle, and the surface liquid is poured 
off into a separate vessel, and this process is repeated till the lac 
loses its colour. Tamarind water is then added and the solution 
boiled. The silk is then dipped in it, and when the requisite 
shade has been obtained, it is washed in clean water and dried. 

The following remarks are taken from a report on the dyeing 
industry in the Madras Presidency which has recently been 
prepared by Dr. F. Marsden. They are strictly applicable to the 
dyers in Salem District : — 

" The dyers do not as a class appear well-to-do, the general type 
of dye-house being small and badly lighted (very often it is part of 
the dwelling house), and the plant and apparatus employed in the 
majority of cases is exceedingly simple. In the small dye houses for 
cotton, there is usually one round vessel (copper) of about 25 gallons 
capacity, set over a grate in which leaves, brushwood or wood 
may be burnt as a source of heat. The hanks of yarn are suspended 
upon sticks which rest upon the edges of the vessel, and from time 
to time the yarn is turned during dyeing by inserting a thin stick in 
the bight of the hanks, and altering the position on the supporting 
stick, so that the jarn which was previously outside the liquor now 





(3) Cloth 

becomes immersed. The preparation of the yarn before dj'eing is 
usually very simple, aud consists in steeping in cold water until 
thoroughly impregnated, the process often being accelerated by 
" beating ", after which the excess of water is removed by wringing. 
Such a preliminary treatment is quite insufficient to remove the 
natural impurities of cotton, and this is recognised in some of the 
better class dye-houses, where the yarn is boiled out in a solution of 
carbonate of soda, which is far more efficacious than water alone in 
removing the natural wax, colour and dirt. This preliminary boiling 
is of importance, as, the more efficiently it is carried out, the clearer 
and more even are the shades subsequently dyed upon the j'arn. A 
type of dye-vessel which is well suited to the dyeing of small lots of 
yarn is in fairly general use and consists of a rectangular vessel, 
some 45" long, 24" wide and 20" deep, set over a grate in brickwork 
and encased in cement. It is economical in space, and permits, 
when not overloaded, of the yarn being efficiently worked in the 
dye liquor ". 

Wax printing is carried on to a limited extent in Salem Town 
by Kavarais. The shades generally met with are few in number, 
and are mainly obtained with indigenous materials, but for red, 
ohay root, munjit, etc., are being to some extent displaced by 
alizarine. The designs tnay be stencilled on when very elaborate, 
but are mainly drawn in by hand, or printed on by moans of 
blocks. The cloth to be treated is first immersed in a solution of 
cow-dung or gont-rlung for about 12 hours, and then taken out 
and well beaten on a stone slab. This process serves to remove 
the starch in the oloth, and facilitates the absorption of the colours 
in the subsequent processes. 

The dried cloth is first thoroughly soaked in a decoction of 
rayrabolams and dried, and the design outliued by drawing or 
printing with a solution of proto-sulphate of iron, thickened svith 
jaggery or gum. The iron solution is sometimes obtained by 
placing nails or rusty iron in sour rice-water or jaggery solution, 
and leaving them therein until the acidity, which develops, results 
in sufficient iron for the purpose being dissolved. Wherever this 
iron solution is painted on the tannin-impregnated cloth there is 
a production of " ink '\ and although the black thus produced Las 
certain drawbacks in dyeing, in this connection it serves its 
purpose quite well. The next operation is to cover those parts of 
the cloth which are required to be rod-coloured with a thickened 
solution of alum, and set aside to age for a day, after which the 
cloth is rinsed to remove unfixed tannin. Upon boiling in a 
decoction of munjit, chay root or alizarine, the dye-stuff combines 
with the metallic mordants, deepening the black shade of the iron 
compound and giving a dull red with the alizarine. 


When portions of the design are required to be blue in shade, CHAP, VI. 
the other parts of tho cloth are imprej^nated with wax and the Industries, 
cloth immersed in an indigo vat. The wax coating is done by 
hand, the workman having a metal pen, around the handle of 
which, and about 1^ inches from the point, is a ball of cotton 
thread. The pen is dipped (up to the ball) into the melted bees' 
wax, and drawn over the cloth until all the parts of this which are 
to be protected from the indigo vat are covered ; the penetration 
of the indigo wolution is thus prevented, except into the parts 
which it is desired sball be djed blue. When the required shade 
has been obtained, the cloth is worked in boiling water until the 
wax has been removed, and having been immersed in buffalo milk 
(presumably to render the colours faster to rubbing) is dried. 

The only other shades met with in the ordinary printed cloths 
are green and yellow, the latter being produced upon portions of 
the design which have been unmordauted or reserved durini' the 
previous operations, whilst green is produced by dyeing yellow 
upon the parts required, which have been dyed to the necessary 
blue shade in the indigo vat. Tho yellow colour is obtained by 
painting on a decoction of '' pista " (myraholam flowers ? ) or 
myrabolani extract, drying, and then immersing the cloth in a 
solution of alum, rinsing and drying. The combination of alum 
with the tannin matter is of a dull yellow colour, and the shades 
harmonise well with those of tho other dye-wares used upon 
the cloth. 

Gingelly-oil is the most important of the vegetable oils^ It is (4) Oils, 
prepared all over the District, the chief centre being Dharmapuri 
Taluk and Kavori-patnam, whence there is a large export trade. 
Oil manufactured from kur-ellu is superior to that made from 
per-eUu. In Hosur Taluk most of the gingolly-oil is made from 
wild gingelly {Guizotia abyssinica, or pey-ellu), the oil of which is 
very inferior. 

Coco-nut-oil is nowhere prepared on a large scale, for want of 
an abundant supply of coco-nuts. Ground-nut oil is pressed in 
Attur and Dharmapuri Taluks, and to a limited extent elsewhere. 
The seeds of margosa and iluppai are pressed for oil in parts of 
the Baramahal, but the supply is meagre, the demand small, and 
in the case of the former, its offensive odour renders it unpopular. 
Pungam is the staple source of oil in Hosur Taluk. 

Castor-oil is not prepared in the ordinary oil mill. It is 
manufactured (often at home) all over the District for local con- 
sumption. It is used for lighting purposes, but is being ousted 
by kerosine. In Edappadi it has attained the dignity of an 

'For the oil-presnin^ c«|,8te8, VJ^ni^ars, Gandlas and Ganigas soe p. 182, 

272 SALEM. 

CHAP. VI. important manufacture, and the oil-cake derived therefrom is a 

iNousTBiEs. greater source of profit than the oil itself. 

liemon-grass oil is distilled by Lahbais in some of the hills of 
Salem and other Taluks, and is used as a basal oil for the manu- 
facture of scent. 

(5) Tanning. Three grades of hides are produced in Salem District, (1) 

village-tanned, (2) town-tanned, and (3) " finished ^' hides. 

Village-tanned hides are the crudest. The work is usually 
done by Chucklers, and the leather is known in the market as 
" Chucklers' leather." Ordinary town-tanned hides ai'e known 
as " godown leather." It is only in Salem Town that finished 
hides are produced. They are known locally as pathan-Uta-tol. 

The Salem tanneries, 14 in number, arc located near Kichi- 
palaiyam, and are owned by Muhammadaus. The skins are 
purchased in shandies all over the District. The tannery owners 
send carts from one shandy to another in regular succession to 
collect them. 

The wool taken from the hides of sheep and goats is cleaned 
in water, colour-sorted by hand, and sold in Madras or Adoni, 
where it is in demand for the maniifacture of carpets. The 
dvaram bark refuse and the inner scrapings of sheep and goat 
hides are valued as manure. The inner scrapings from the hides 
of bulls and buffaloes are exported in large quantities for the 
manufacture of glue. 

(6) Iron. Iron-smelting in Salem District is an art of extreme antiquity. 

The remains of slag mounds and furnaces in numerous villages, 
not only in Atttir, Salem, Omalur and Tiruchengodu ^ but also on 
the border line of Hosur and Krishnagiri Taluks, and even in the 
heart of the Anchetti jungles, testify to the wide extent and 
importance of the industry. Owing, however, partly to the rise 
in the cost of fuel, and partly to the cheapness of imported iron, 
the industry has of late years rapidly decayed. 

The ore is smelted in a mud furnace about 4' high, the shape 
of which, when viewed from the front, is like a bottle, about 2' in 

^ The following were centres of iron-8melting in the Talaghat Taluks : — 

Salem Taluk ; Namagiripet Tirumanur, (south of Vollala'^nndiim), Peru- 
malpalaiyam (near Godn-malai), Vcdakuttampatti, Dalavay-patti, Andi-patti 
and Ariyanur. 

Tiruchengodu Taluk ; Padaveda, Kon^an&puram, V^alayasetti-palaiyam (a 
hamlet of Edanga-salai), Irukalur Mitta, TevQr, Mattampatti 

Omalur Taluk ; Vanayasi and SOragai. 

Attur Taluk ; Atttir, Tandavaiayai)iirara, Mattnrutti, Tammampatti, 
Sendara-pafct', K«n6ri-patti, Tukkiyainpalaiyam, Kiri-patti, Nagaiyampatti, 
Kadambur, Naraikkinar. 

Uttankarai Taluk ; Tirta-malai, Mambadl, Poyya-patti, Vlrappa- 
Nayakkanpatti, Palaiyam, Katraviriciichampatti, Mondukiili (all near Tlrta- 
malai), Pungani, Attijtpadi (near Nayakkanur), Pallattur, 


diameter at the base and about 9" at the top. The floor of the CHAP. VI. 
furuace is sunk about 6" below the level of the ground. At the Industries. 
base is an opening some 10" square. The furnace is partly filled port^jjoyo 
with charcoal, on which the ore is placed. A blast is obtained Company, 
with a pair of goat-skin bellows, worked by hand alternately, so 
that the draught may be continuous. The nozzles of the bellows 
are inserted into the orifice at the base of the furnace, and the 
rest of the opening is sealed with wet clay. The blast is kept 
up for about Sj hours, at the end of which a mass of red-hot 
metal, weighing about 12 lbs., is withdrawn, and worked on an 
anvil, and, when sufficiently hammered, a cut is made nearly the 
whole way through, and the mass is then ready for sale. 

An attempt to exploit Salem iron on a large scale was made 
by Mr. J. M. Heath, Commercial Resident at Salem, who in 
1825 resigned the Company's service, and proceeded to England 
to study ways and means. In 1830, Mr. Heath returned to India, 
and established works at Porto Novo.-^ 

In 1853, a new Company was formed called the " East Indian 
Iron Company." The chief bods worked were those of the 
Kanja-malai. New works were set up at Pulampatti, on the banks 
of the Kaveri, whither the ore was taken by road from Kanja- 
malai (23 miles) to be smelted. The iron produced was of excel- 
lent quality, and it was used in the construction of the tubular 
and suspension bridges over the Menai Straits. The works at 
Pulampatti^ were supplied with charcoal from Sdlappadi, 18 miles 
up the Kaveri. There the charcoal was made in large furnaces, 
and it was conveyed to Pulampatti in boats. It was delivered at 
the works at a cost of Es. 6 per ton, but the supply was irregular 
on account of the charcoal burners, who were unable to work conti- 
nuously owing to the unhealthy state of the jungles at certain 
times of the year. 

Elaborate inquiries were made in the last decade of the Fntnre 
nineteenth century ^ as to whether the iron ores of Salem District ^'"^P®"*^'- 
could be exploited on a commercial scale. It has been suggested 
that blast furnaces might be erected at Kadaiyampatti and 
Hanuma-tirtam, the former to serve the Kanja-malai deposits, 

^ A history of the Porto Novo Iron Company is given in the South Arcot 
Gazetteer, pp. 283 to 290. 

* According to Mr. Le Fann, Vol.1, p. 99, the Kanja-malai bed was worked as 
late as 1861. Mr. Maylor, at that time Manager of the Porto Novo Iron 
Company's works, estimated, that the yield from Kanja-malai ore was about 55 
per cent of pig iron, and the quantity of charcoal required was 3^ tons to every 
ton of iron produced. 

^ See Sir Thomas Holland's paper on the Iron Ore and Iron Industries 
of the Salem District anl Impirlal ImtitutJ Hi,nibo)\ on Troa, No. 8 (1892). 


274 SALEM. 

CHAP. VI. and the latter those of Tirta-raalai. Calculating on the basis of 
Industries, one acre of forest to half a ton of wood annually, one ton of wood 
to 4 cwt. of charcoal, 17 ewt. of charcoal to one ton of pig-iron, 
and S^ tons of charcoal to one ton of wrought-iron, it would 
require 8^ acres of forest to produce one ton of pig-iron and 35 
acres to produce a ton of wrought-iron^. The estimated outturn 
arrived at, taking into account (1) the produce of all the forests 
within 10 miles of the blast furnace, or (2) the produce within a 
radius of 16 miles, is as follows : — 

WroDght-iron. Pig-iron. 


Ten miles radius. 

Total . . 
Sixteen miles radiut. 

Total . . 






, 2,843 


, 5,206 


Experts declare that no blast furnace on modern lines can pay, 
unless the annual output reaches 10,000 tons of pig. It is only 
Kadaiyampatti that could supply the fuel for this. But if opera- 
tions were conducted on a scale of sufficient magnitude to supply 
a blast furnace, the cost of labour would be indefinitely enhanced ; 
for Kadaiyarapafcti and Hanuma-tirtam arc two of the most feverish 
spots in the District, and coolies would never settle in either 
locality, unless induced to do so by very ample wages. Moreover, 
to work the forests properly, feeder roads should be opened at 
heavy cost. Again, the cost of transit of ore to furnace, and pig to 
rail must be faced, a coat which crushed the Porto Novo Company. 
In fine, little prospect exists of a blast furnace stoked Avith charcoal 
ever paying in Salem District. The adoption of large numbers of 
small furnaces of an improved type might be attended with 
success, as it has in parts of America and in Stjria whore similar 
problems present themselves. Possibly further advances in electric 
metallurgy may eventually solve the fuel difficulty. 

* These figures are taken from a memorandntn of the Collector of Salem 
No. 278i, dated 2-4th Septombor 1894. The estimates adopted by Sir Thomas 
Holland in his pamphlet, which worked out at 23 acres for a ton of pig-iron, were 
warmly disputed by Mr. C. W. MaoMinn (See Indian Agriculturalist of 8th April 
1893, page 19G), who estimated that 10 acres wonld suffice. 


Salem iron-ores contain practically no phosphorus or sulphur CHAP. vi. 
and aro therefore well suited for manufacturing the better quality Indu6teik». 
of wrought-iron or steel. 

Indian steel was famous from the days of Alexander to the (7) Steel, 
days of Marco Polo, and it is probable that steel has been raanu- 
faoturod in Salem District from a very remote period. In the first 
half of the nineteenth century steel was brought to England, some- 
times in the form of conical ingots, and sometimes ^ in flat round 
cakes. The conical ingots were evidently wootz, made, as is still 
done in Trichinopoly, by carburising wrought-iron in crucibles, a 
principle which was not applied in England till 1800 2. The flat 
cakes of steel which are still made in Salem District are produced 
by quite a different process, namely, by the partial removal by 
oxidization of the carbon in cast-iron, as in the open hearth 
finery of Styria and Carinthia and in the ordinary puddling of 
pig-iron. The process as now carried on is thus described. 

In the manufacture of wrought-iron, certain easily fusible 
beads of iron are produced, and melt off as shot. These are in 
reality highly carburised particles of ca st iron, and it is from these 
that the steel is made. The shot are first pounded in a stone 
mortar with a pestle of the kind ordinarily used for pounding rice. 
By this process the small particles of slag adhering to the shot are 
removed, and the cast-iron receives an imperfect polish. The 
powdered slag-material is separated by sifting in the ordinary 
manner in a winnow. A hole is dug in the ground about 1' deep 
and about 1' in diameter. At one side a semi-circular groove is 
excavated from the surface to the bottom of the pit. A large cake 
of soft clay serves to divide this small excavation from the other 
part of the pit, and the smaller chamber serves as the finery in 
which the steel is made. The bottom of this is first covered with 
a layer of dirty quartz, obtained from sifting the crushed ore when 
dressing the magnetite for the furnace. On this hearth of quartz 
an ignited ooal is placed, and the small chamber is filled with 
charcoal. A tuyere, previously built in with the clay-partition, 
points downwards at an angle of about 45 degrees, and receives the 
nozzles of two goat-skin bellows, by which a continuous blast is 
maintained. The shot are first wetted and thrown upon the char- 
coal, the amount used being governed by pure guess-work, as in 
the wrought-iron smelting. The blast is continued for about half 
an hour, when the process of decarburisation is complete, and the 
tuyere and clay- partition are broken down for the removal of the 

^ The account, wliich follows is taken from Sir Thomas Holland's Report of 
1892 on the manufacture of steel in Salem District. 

* The same principle governed the later patent of Mackintosh, and has since 
been modified to the modern cementation process for the conversion of bar-iron 
into " blister steel " and in " case hardening." 






(8) Brass- 

(9) Charooal. 

(10) Baeketfl 
and Mats. 

steel-cake, which is first slightly cooled by a dash of water, and 
then hammered to remove the casing of slag which has formed 
aroand it. The workers are quite aware of the fact that if they 
continued the process too long, the resulting product would be of 
no more use than ordinary wrought-iron. It seems curious that 
Pariahs should adopt this interesting process for the manufacture 
of steel, whilst the typical wootz is made in such an entirely 
different manner. 

In the second half of. the nineteenth contury the enterprise of 
the late Arunachala Asari made Salem famous throughout India, 
and his hunting-knives and pig-sticking lances were in great 
demand. The manufacture of silver-and gold-mounted " cheetah- 
tooth " pen-knives still continues a characteristic local industry. 

It would seem that the advent of the Railway has killed the 
indigenous arts of metallurgy, for even in Edappadi, whore brass 
work is the hereditary occupation of about 30 families, the casting 
of brass has largely given place to the beating out of sheet-brass. 
The same remark holds good of Muttu-Nayakkan-patti, near 
Omalur, another local centre of brass-casting. In Salem itself no 
brass is cast, but the manufacture of pots and pans by the local 
Aaaris from beaten sheet-brass is an industry of importance. 

Charcoal burning is carried on on a commercial scale not only 
in the Reserved Forests, but also in the Palaiyams of Borikai 
and Stilagiri. There is a large export to Bangalore and the Kolar 
Gold Field, as well as to Erode. 

Baskets are usually mauie of bamboo, and the industry is 
chiefly carried on by Medaras or Vedakkarars. 

Perhaps the most important product of the Vedakkarars* art is 
the familiar bamboo-matting, used for flooring and for the con- 
struction of temporary sheds and pandals. Their usual size is five 
cubits square, but they are made of any size to order, and in floor- 
ing the house the mat-makers prefer to weave the mat in one 
piece in situ. The best quality of bamboo-matting is the so- 
called " green-mat," made solely of the smooth exterior shavings 
of the bamboo Another item of importance is the manufacture 
of baskets for coffee seedlings, about 3" in diameter and 9" long, 
sold at Rs. 5 per thousand. Strong baskets are made in large 
quantities for the transport of mangoes and oranges ; bread- 
baskets, fish-baskets, baskets for carrying fowls, baskets for hand- 
baling irrigation, winnows, fans, bird-cages, hen-coops, are 
among the useful articles that these simple workmen will turn out. 
Unfortunately most of them are indebted to contractors, who 
enjoy a big share of the profits of their industry. 



Grass mats (mostly of korai grass, Cyperus rotundus), are made CHAP. VI. 
iu many villag-os, the workers boiug usually Labbai womeu. Industries. 
The korai grass used in Salem is imported from Trichinopoly, 
that used in Dharmapnri Q^aluk is out on the banks of the Sanat- 
kumara-nadi. The mat-makers dye the grass themselves, the 
favourite colours being white, red, black and green. The patterns 
produced are not very elegant. A mat is worth about 10 annas. 
Mats of date-leaf are made at Maranda-halli. 

The chief fibres of economical importance in the District are (li) Fibres, 
those of (1) palmyra, (2) coco-nut, (3) aloe, and (4) janappu 
{^aan-hemip, Crotalanajuncea). None of these are manufactured 
on a large scale. 

The manufacture of indigo has been carried on in Attur (12) indigo. 
Taluk from time immemorial. The industry was worked up by 
Mr. Heath, who, in 1833, sold the business, virtually a monopoly, 
to Mr. G. F. Fischer. At that time there were works at Salem, 
Kadaiyampatti, VelLalagundam, Narasingapuram, Sarvay, Malli- 
karai, Singapuram, Siruvachar, Viraganur and other places. The 
indigenous method of manufacture was to steep the loaves of 
aviri {Indigofera tmcton'a), or veppdlai [Wrightia iinetoria) in 
water in largo earthen pots, embedded in the ground . The leaves 
were allowed to ferment, and were then beaten with paddles ; the 
mixture was then boiled till it became viscid like boiling jaggery. 
It was next allowed to cool in a shady place, and when cooled, the 
residue was cut into cakes, and sent to market. 

The system now in vogue of precipitating the colouring matter 
with lime-water in a vat or cistern was introduced, it is said, by 
Mr. .Tames Fischer. The process is as follows : — .4nW^ leaves are 
cut and tied into bundles. From 10 to 15 bdrams of them (1 
hdram — 20 maunds), are placed overnight iu the steeping vat, a 
brick chamber lined with cement. The leaves are battened down 
by means of beams attached to pegs in the sides of the vat, and 
water is run in till all the leaves are submerged' The leaves 
soak all night, and at 6 a.m. the fermenting liquid is let out into 
the beating-vat, situated at a lower level, and coolies work it 
about with paddles till 10 or 11 a.m. Lime-water is then added, 
and within an hour the fluid clears, and the precipitated indigo 
settles. The clear water is then run ofP, and the sediment is 
strained through a thin cloth, and passed into a copper vessel ; 
clean water being added, lime-water is then sprinkled over it, and 
the mixture is again worked wiih a paddle ; after about 15 minutes 
the solid matter is deposited, and the water is drawn off through 
a syphon. The precipitate is then boiled, and when it attains 

^ Veppdlai leaves are no longer used for the mamifaoture of indigo. 




(13) Stone. 





the proper consistency, it is poured into a thick canvas sheet, sup- 
ported on a bamboo frame. The sheet acts as a filter, allowing 
the clear water to drain off, and retaining the indigo as a thick 
paste This paste is covered for the night, and on the following 
morning superfluous moisture is expelled by means of a screw - 
press ; the residue is out into cakes and dried in the sun. 

Mr. Fischer's first factory was set up in about 1860 in 
Ponnammapet, a suburb of Salem. Factories at Kadaiyampatti, 
Puttira-Kavundan-palaiyam, Siugapuram, Attur, Talaivasal and 
other places followed. Eival factories on the lines adopted by 
Mr. Fischer were soon started at Ettappur, xVragaltir and other 
places. The industry flourished till about 1894, when the com- 
petition of synthetic indigo began to be felt. Mr. Fischer then 
closed down his factories and sold them. In 1911 there were 31 
factories in Attur Taluk, and a few more in Salem, all in the 
hands of Indian capitalists. The factory owners obtain the seeds 
from Nollore and other northern districts, and distribute them to 
the ryots on the condition that the whole of the produce is made 
over to the manufacturer who advances the seed. The manu- 
facturer pays the ryot about 12 annas per bdram for the leaves, 
and the refuse is the perquisite of the ryot, who uses it for manure 
(p. 227). 

There is abundance of good building-stone which has never 
been commercially exploited. Gneiss lends itself readily to 
manipulation, for flat slabs of any portable size and of uniform 
thickness can be obtained by applying fire evenly over the 
surface of the living rock. To give the slabs the required shape, 
shallow holes are drilled along the surface. 

Large quantities of steatite vessels, pots, bowls, plates, dishes, 
etc., are manufactured in Attur andOmalur Taluks, and exported 
to the Districts of Tanjore and Trichinopoly, where they aic in 
great demand among lirahmans. (Sec p. 33.) 

Other industries of local importance arc the manufacture of 
palmyra- jaggery (especially in the Firkas of Mecheri and Edap- 
padi), tobacco (an important industry in Atttir Taluk), cane-jag- 
gery, saltpetre (at Edappadi, see Vol. II, pp. 273 and 79) and 

The trade of the District may be described as centrifugal. 
That of Hostir gravitates towards Bangalore ; that of Krishnagiri 
to Tiruppattur and the Eailway : Uttankarai trade hovers between 
Tiruppattur and South Aroot, that of Dharmapuri between Salem 
and the Eailway : Attur trade is divided between South Arcot and 
Trichinopoly ; that of TiruchengSdu between Coimbatore and the 
Eailway. Salem is the only important centre ; it attracts a certain 
amount of trade from all the adjacent taluks (Dharmapuri, 


Tiruchongodu, IJttanlcarai, and Attilr), and has an extensive CHAP. VI. 
export and import trade. Trade. 

The economic centres of distribution and exchange are the -wreckivr 
weekly markets held all over the District. It is in these fairs, or Markets. 
" shandies," that the ryot disposes of his produce, and purchases 
salt, chillies, cloths and other necessities of life. Wholesale mer- 
chants attend the larger markets, and bny in stock on advantageous 
terms. Potty traders visit a series of shandies, 4 or 5 in a veeek, 
in regular rotation, buying in one and selling in another, eking 
out a profit of 3 or 4 annas a day. Shandies are known by the 
day of the week on which they occur, and not, as a rule, by the 
name of the place in which they are held. There are in the 
District 129 shandies, of which 44 are controlled by the Taluk 
Boards and produce a revenue of some Rs. 12,480. 

The chief trade in the District is in agricultural produce, Chief Trades, 
cloth, cattle, salt and oils. There is also a large export by rail of 
raw hides and forest produce. 

The trade in agricultural produce is mainly in the hands of (1) Trade in 
Komatis. It is also shared in by Muhammadans, and in the ^'■*^°- 
Balaghat by Liugayats, in theBaramahalby Yaniyars, Janappars, 
Balijas and Gollas, in the Talaghatby Sembadavans and Nagarattu 

The business which combines grain trade with money-lending 
is perhaps the most lucrative in the District. In the days when 
the ryots' first kist fell due in December, full advantage was taken 
by capitalists of the fact that the crops could not be placed on the 
market till January. Advances were freely made on the security 
of the presumptive crops. At harvest-time the loan was paid back 
in its equivalent of grain at the current market price, and a 
stipulated quantity per rupee of the loan was added by way of 
interest. As the big grain merchants are well in touch with each 
other all over the District, it is easy for them to reduce the 
market-price of grain at harvest-time, so that they can recover 
their loans on the most favourable terms. The ryot must 
realise his produce as soon as harvested, for he has his kist 
to pay. The merchants, having called in all their dues, can 
afford to wait for the inevitable rise of prices before they sell. 
In this way the money-lenders tend to " corner " the food supply 
of the District annually, and their profits by way of interest are 
far larger than they appear to be from the terms of the oontraot. 
The lender generally makes a clean profit of not less than 25 per 
cent on his outlay. It is said that since the abolition of the 
December kist in 1906, this practice is on the wane. The middle- 
men usually buy up their grain at shandies, and some send their 
agents to the villages at harvest-time to buy grain cash down. 




(2) Cloth 

(3) Cattle 

Kri8hnag:iri merchants invest largely in Hostir ragi, wliicli they 
stock, and sell on commission. The larger grain exporters sell to 
Madras dealers on a commission of one anna in the rupee. 

Trade in European textile fabrics is mainly in the hands of 
Muhammadans. Komatis are the chief dealers in counti-y-made 
cloths, though in some cases the weaving communities themselves, 
Patnillkarans, Kaikolars, Dovangas and Sales trade in their 
own products. In the Baramahal and Bah\ghat the local manu- 
factures do not exceed the local demand, but from Salem Taluk 
there is an extensive export trade. The middlemen in Salem 
receive from the manufacturer one anna in the rupee on the total 
value of the cloths sent, and they are also said to get six pies per 
cloth from the retail dealer. 

In out-of-the-way tracts, enterprising Labbais from Palli-patti, 
in Karur Taluk of Trichinopoly District, hawk cloths on a system 
of six months' credit, on account of which they are called 
Arumasa-kadan-karars. They first visit the villages during the 
cultivation season, and they return to claim their dues at harvest- 
time. Their prices are fixed high euongli to cover the losses 
inevitable to unsecured credit, but to an ignorant ryot a stiff price 
is a trifle compared with the advantages of having the goods 
brought to his door, and postponing payment for six months. 

The cattle trade of the District is almost entirely in the hands 
of Janappars, except for potty transactions between villagers. 
The centre of this trade is in the Pennagaram Division. All male 
calves bred in the Kaveri-side forests arc sold before they complete 
their first year, for a calf which is allowed to mature in the forests 
can never bo domesticated. 

Before the outbreak of plague, most of the saleable calves were 
disposed of during the festivals at MathSsvaran-malai (Kollcgal 
Taluk, thrice a year), Mecheri (February), Adaraan-kottai ( March) ^ 
and Natta-halli (April) * . Attendance at these festivals is now 
restricted by Plague Regulations, and the cattle trade has gravitated 
to the weekly market at Pappara-patti. The trade is in the hands 
of petty brokers, resident at Pennagaram, Halaipuram, Matam and 
other places in Pennagaram Division. These brokers own but 
little capital, and usually 4 or 5 of them work in partnership. 
They start in person for the forest pens on Fridays, effect their 
purchases on the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, return with their 
calves to their villages by "Wednesday, and dispose of them at 
Pappara-patti on the next day. The price is usually fixed not at 
BO much per calf, but at so many calves per Es. 100. 

^ Or Nattada-halH, a village 7 miles from Dbarmapuri near the Pennagaram 
road, and adjoining Indur, 


The purchasers at Pappara-patti are usually Janappars, resideut chap. vi. 
in the Baramahal taluks. These Jauappurs, in their turn, sell Trade. 
the calves to ryots resident in Mysore State. The Mysore ryots 
roar and train the cattle till they are full grown ; then sell them 
back once more to Janappars, who dispose of them in the districts of 
the East Coast, the chief markets being Tiruvannamalai, Srirangam, 
Madura, and -Negapatam. From the latter place large numbers 
are exported on credit, at the risk of the Baramahal Janappars, to 
agents in Singapore and Penang,-and it is said that the outstand- 
ings on this account with the Janappars of the three villages of 
Kannanda-hallijPerungopana-halliandMadra halli,in Krishnagiri 
Taluk, amount to nearly half a lakh of rupees. Exact figures are 
not available to show how many cattle are exported from the 
District annually, but statistics gathered at the temporary Traffic 
Registering Office, established at Raya-kota in 1901 with a view 
to ascertaining the merits of a railway project from Hosur to the 
plains, show that for the six months, November 1901 to March 
1902, a monthly average of nearly 4,600 head of cattle passed 
down the ghats, against an average of about 1,060 travelling up. 
Of the 4,600, over 4,100 went via Dharmapuri, the rest via Krishna- 
giri, and about three out of every four came from Kela-mangalam, 
where, during the busy season, between 1,000 and 1,500 head of 
cattle change hands every Sunday shandy. 

Cattle dealers have a curious way of clinching a bargain. As 
soon as a price is agreed upon, the vendor places small pieces of 
cow-dung in the hands of the purchaser, after which formality 
neither party dare recede from the contract. When the beast is 
sold, the rope by which it was led, and the brass ornaments on its 
horns, arc removed and retained by the seller. 

Most of the salt for the Talaghat taluks, as well as tJttankarai, (4) Salt 
is imported from the Madras Depot. In Hostir, and parts of Trade. 
Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, Bombay salt is preferred. Bombay 
salt is imported through Bangalore and Calicut. As salt is 
usually bought wholesale by weight, and retailed by measure, 
the lighter the salt and the larger the crystals, the greater the 
merchants' profits. For these qualities Bombay salt is preferred 
to Madras salt. Blackish dirty salt is in favour with the people, 
as it is said to be more saline. 

The wholesale salt trade, like that in grain and cloth, is 
mainly in the hands of Komatis and Muhammadans. Shevapet is 
the central emporium, the Shevapet merchants supplying dealers 
in the adjoining taluks, and allowing 1-| per cent commission on 
the value of salt purchased. The salt is disposed of in shandies, 
where it is either sold or bartered in small quantities for 




(5) Oil Trade. 


agricultural produce. Some grain tradorsi in Hosiir Taluk take 
salt with them to the villages, and exchange it for mustard-seed. 

The hulk of the oil trado is in the hands of the enterprising 
Vanijar community, though the Komatis and Balijas have a 
share in it, and in Tiruehengodu the Semhadavans take the lead 
in the manufacture and export of castor-oil. From the Bara- 
mahal the gingelly-oil of Kaveri-patnam and Dharmapuri finds its 
way all over South India. 

Most of the exports by rail are raw products, the only manu- 
factured articles of importance being cotton- cloths from Salem and 
the stations in Tiruehengodu Taluk ; dressed skins from Dharma- 
puri, Krishnagiri and Salem ; and gunny-bags, brass and iron 
work, and indigo from Salem ; bamboo mats from the stations at 
the foot of the Shevaroys ; unrefined sugar from Dharmapuri, and 
jaggery from Salem and from the Taluk 6f Tiruehengodu. 

Cereals and pulses travel freely all over the District, and largo 
quantities are exported. The chief centres for rice and paddy 
export are Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Sankaridrug and the 
southern stations of Uttankarai Taluk. Fruit and vegetables are 
sent from stations both in the Baramahal and Talaghat, custard- 
apples are a speciality of Eargur, betel- leaves of Sankaridrug, 
and ground-nuts, aroca-nuts, chillies and onions of Salem. 
Tobacco finds an outlet at Salem, Samalpatti, Dasampatti and 
Morappur, and raw cotton at Sankaridrug and Anangur ; Salem 
and the stations in Tiruehengodu Taluk export ghee; oil-seeds, 
both castor and gingelly, are railed from Krishnagiri and Dharma- 
puri, and most of the stations between Samalpatti and Salem ; 
gingelly-oil is sent from Krishnagiri, Samalpatti and Morappur, 
and castt)r-oil from Sankaridrug ; oil-cake is an important item 
at Krishnagiri, Kadaiyampatti, Salem, and Sankaridrug, while 
coffee is sent from Salem, Kadaiyampatti, and Bommidi. 

The chief items of forest produce are tamarind* and tanning 
barks, which are exported from most of the stations in Uttan- 
karai Taluk, and also from Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri. The 
stations round the foot of the Shevaroys provide gall-nuts, timber, 
bamboos and fuel. Gall-nuts are also railed from Samalpatti, 
and firewood from Sankaridrug. Krishnagiri exports charcoal, 
and there is a trade in palmyra fibres'^ from Tiruehengodu Taluk, 
while Dasampatti and Samalpatti export quantities of dried leaves 

* Tamarind produce is nsnally gathered in March. 

*" A loose fibre which surrounds tho base of the leaf -stalk " (Watt, page 
170). The export is confined to the months of July, August and September; 
the Tahsildar writes that about 30 bales, valued at Hs. 500, are purchased per 
week by Erode merchants, who send them to Tuticorin. 



(chief! J of Banyan, Ficus indica) to be stitched into food-plates 
for the higher caste Hindus. 

Lastly there is a largo export of raw skins from all tho 
Talaghat stations, as well as from Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, 
Dasampatti and Morappur, and horns are exported from Salem. 

Bail-borne imports are less varied, English piece-goods and 
yarns, alizarine, kerosine oil, salt, foreign liquors, copper, brass, 
and iron are freely imported from Madras. Cotton cloths and 
twist of Indian manufacture from the southern districts of the 
Madras Presidency, and timber, pepper, spices, betel, and salt- fish 
from Malabar. Curiously enough, there is a considerable import 
of cereals and pulses, especially of rice, from adjoining districts, 
and Salem City stands easily first in the extent and variety of its 

The weights in vogue are common to the Presidency. 

16 pies = 1 palam of 3 tolas. 

8 palams = 1 seer {ser) of 24 tolas. 

5 seers = I viss. 

8 viss = 1 maund. 

20 maunds = 1 kandogam (Anglice " candy "). 
In some parts of the District the pothi of 10 maunds of 960 
tolas, is more generally used than the candy. The baram (load), 
mUttai (bundle), and sattai are also used for weights of 10 maunds 
and upwards. A bdram of jaggery in Kasipuram Division equals 
20 maunds. A pettai-padi — 1 ,000 tolas. Merchants in the north- 
ern Baramahal are said to allow an excess of 2 palams for every 
viss bought or sold on almost all articles. 

In Hostii- and Krishnagiri Taluks the seer is the chief unit. 
A half palam is called chattak (Hindustani for " one-sixteenth "). 
A polam — ara-pavu (| x j, i.e., of a seer), two palams = pdvu 
(i.e., J seer), four pdvulu = 1 seer. Similarly a quarter viss = 
savd-ser, a half viss = adat ser, and a viss = pdnch-ser (corrupted 
into pancher), from Hindustani words denoting l;j, 2-^ and 5 
respectively. These taluks also use the dadiyam of 2 viss. 

Goldsmiths employ the following scale: 4 paddy -seeds = I 
kundumani (the familiar scarlet seed of Ahrus precaiorius), 32 
kundmnanis = 1 vardhan-edai (pagoda), 3^^ pagodas = 1 rupee. 

The weight of a sovereign is variously estimated at 2i^, 2^ 
and 2j^ pagodas, discrepancies which suggest that their methods 
are not very exact. In Salem goldsmiths keep a series of weights 
representing 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, and sometimes 20 and 30 pagodas, 
and the sub-multiples of the same, -j, ^, and |-. Read speaks of a 
grain of ragi as a goldsmith's weight. 












iu Hosur in the 


Measares of 

Tehigu weights are used by 
following scale : — 

4 gurtginjas, kundumanis or patikia = 1 ruka. 
9 rukas = 1 varafta (pagoda). 
30 rukas or 3^ varalia = 1 tola. 
Brass and bell-metal are sold by the fadi of 12^ seers in 
Easipuram Division. 

The rattal is used in weighing hides, and also shoet-brasa. 
It is said to approximate to one pound. Its equivalent is variously 
estimated at 38 1, 39 and 40 tolas. There are 24 or 25 rattah to 
aimaund of 960 to 1,000 tolas' weight. Hides, however, are more 
commonly sold by number. In Attur Taluk indigo is sold by the 
rattal, 500 of which make a bdram, and 25 a maund. 
There are four kinds of scale -. — 

(1) The "needle-balance", ordinary metal scales with 

(2) The "rod-balance ", a simple wooden crosa-bcara, sus- 
pended in the middle by a string. It is sometimes called " ndmam 
balance " from its resemblance to an inverted Tengalai namam. 
In Hosur it is called chintal or takkadi. 

(3) The spring-balance, sometimes called " ra^^aZ-scalo ", 
used chiefly in weighing hides, wool, palmyra-fibre, yarn, jaggery, 
and tamarind. 

(4) The tnutiattu-kol, veUi-kol, scda-kol or tukkit-kol, a 
balance on the principle of a stoel-yard. It consists of a rod 
marked at regular intervals to indicate different weights. A single 
scale is attached at the first notch (called ndttdngi-vay) either to a 
hook or by simple tying. The rod is then suspended by a looped 
string, which is moved backwards or forwards till the rod becomes 
horizontal. The notch at which the loop rests indicates the 
weight. The notches are called the vdy, and there may be 10 or 
20 of them. Vegetables, cotton-seeds and tamarind are sold at 
so many vdy per panam (two annas). In a 20 notch balance, the 
2nd vdy = about 3^ viss, the 3rd = 2\ viss, the 7th = 1 viss, the 
16th = 10 palams, the 18th = 4 palams^ and so oii.^ Spun cotton is 
weighed on a similar balance with slightly different intervals. 

Till 1873 local grain measures were in vogue. The existence 
of two or three standards in one taluk was comparatively a small 
evil, for even in a single village a duplicate system sometimes 
prevailed, and it is still commonly said that grain merchants, who 

^ A scale in use in Salem Taluk, but not very commonly, is Ist notch = i 
viss, 2nd = 1 viss, 3rd = Ij viss, 4th = i viss, and so on. 



deal with Malayalis, moasuro the grain thoy receive in measures 
of larger capacity than those they use in selling, and so add hand- 
somely to their profits. 

In the early seventies, however, it was realised that official 
returns of current prices were valueless so long as the standards 
of no two recording stations agreed. In 1873, accordingly, an 
attempt was made to express the various local measures in terms 
of imperial sccrs.^ The basis of comparison was the weight of 
rice, in tolas, that each local measure would hold, and it was found 
that in Salem Distrint two measures prevailed ; (1) a padi which 
contained from 118 to 150 tolas, and (2) a manam which held 
from 63 to 86 tolas of rice " heaped moderately." 

The ohject of these calculations was to standardise the price 
returns, and not the local measures. Between 1876 and 1879, 
however, the practice of officially stamping approved measures 
was introduced. Local officers were loft to themselves to decide 
the standard that should be officially recognised in each recording 
station. Not unaaturally, the Board's list of tolas per local 
measure was adopted as a basis for the stamping operations. But 
the Board's estimates themselves were based on uncertain data, 
because the local measures were all of different diameter, a 
circumstance which vitiated the estimated allowance for 
" heaping." Moreover, most of the measures on which the cal- 
culations were based were of bamboo, and of all shapes and sizes. 
But these inaccuracies were a trifle compared with the vagaries of 
local officers in applying the Board's standards. The universal 
practice in the District was to estimate capacity by tola- weight of 
gram, and not of rice. The test by volume of water was nowhere 
adopted. Now ordinary gram is 3 or 4 per cent heavier than 
rice, and the difference in weight between old and new gram is 16 
or 17 per cent ; old, new, or mixed gram was adopted as a test 
by the stamping maistries, to suit their own interest, or please the 
merchant who brought the measure. " The Assistant Collector 
ordered the introduction of the Salem measure (136 tolas gram) 
into Attur, where the true standard was 154 gram ; a stamping 
maistry transferred from Salem to Namakkal introduced without 
orders the Salem measure, altering the standard from 150 tolas 
gram (double measure) to 136^; the Vaniyambadi Sub-Magistrate 
altered, without any authority, the town standard from 86 tolas 
rice to 90 tolas gram, and the Sub-Collector took it into his head 
that it would be a good thing to introduce the pakka seer of 80 

1 B P.51 of 15-1-73. 

* The Board's tables showed 132 tolas. This represented the weight of 
rice ia a Salem measure " struck " j 136 tolas was the locally recognised 
" heaped " content. 0ee B.P. 1223 of 9-5-79. 









tolas into the Sub-Divisioa, and ordered accordingly, but lie made 
a mess of it, for, instead of a seer of 80 tolas rice, he introduced 
one of about 77 tolas, as the 80 tolas was weighed in gram." ^ At 
Rasipuram people complained that the new measure, though sap- 
posed to be 136 tolas, was really one-eighth measure larger than 
the old mamnl measure, which was 144 tolas. This was due to the 
use of fresh gram as a test by the stamping maistry, and a similar 
complaint was received from Dharmapuri. 

To clear the confusion it was decided to fix two standards for 
the District, approximating them as closely as possible to local 
usage. In the four Talaghat taluks a standard of 150 tolas rice 
was sanctioned, tjttankarai taking as its standard the half 
measure of 75 tolas. The second standard of 86 tolas was adopt- 
ed in the three taluks of the Sub-Division. The tost was made by 
volume of water. These two standards continued up to 1 st July 
1902, when the Madras Measure of 62^ fluid ounces, 4^ inches in 
diameter, containing 132 tolas weight of rice heaped, with its sub- 
multiples, was adopted throughout the District.^ The Madras 
Measure has not yet been thoroughly popularised, and the old 
measures of 1880 are generally preferred. 
The favourite scale is 

4 oUocks = 1 mdnam {\ Madras measure). 
4 mdnama = 1 vallani (2 Madras measures). 
40 vallams = 1 kandagam or puiti (80 Madras Measures). 
The manam is half a Madras Measure, and the word padi or 
' measure ' is generally applied to the manam^ which is in more 
general use than the full Madras Measure. The kandagam is not 
a constaut quantity for, in the southern taluks, the old measure 
containing 150 tolas of rice is frequently used as the unit, four 
to a vallum. Instead of the kandagam., in some parts of the 
District a moda of 16 vallams (32 Madras Measures) and a pothi of 
6 7noda8 or 96 vallatns (192 Madras Measures) is preferred. The 
halam of 12 marakkah is only used in the east of Attur Taluk, 
bordering on South Arcot. 

The Telugu system in vogue at Ilosur is as follows : — 

2 giddalu = 1 sola. 

14 solas = 1 mdnika. 

2 mdnikas = 1 balla,. 

2 {fa lias = 1 ibhaliga. 

2 ibbaligas = 1 tumu (Kanarese kolaga). 

10 iUmus = 1 pandhumu. 

2 vandhumiis\ ^ ^^- ,i, 
or 20 tumm] " ^ ^'''"' (Kanarese kandaga). 

» B.P. 930 of 9-7-80. 

2 B.P. 205 of 16-9-01. 


Separate raoaauros are kept for 2, 3, 4 and 5 tumus. Two tumua CHAP. 71 
make one nidhumu. Weightb 

In Kriahnacriri the " seer " is used as a measure of capacity, measures 

It contains 86 tolas' weight of heaped rice, and is the same as the 

old standard grain measaro. Eight of these seers make a ser- 
vallam, and 40 ser-vallams = 1 ser-handagam. A Madras Measure 
is equivalent to about 1^9 ^^ those seers, and roughly G| seers 
= 1 standard vallam. The standard measures are called humpani 
(" Company ") vallam and kumpani Jcandagam, to distinguish them 
from the ser-vallam and ser-ha)idagam^ Krishnagiri people also 
use a sola, 4 of which go to manam. When paying field-labourers 
in kind, special measures are used known as kuli (coolie) padi and 
kuli-vallam, which are equal to three-fourths of tlio standard 
manam and vallam respectively. The latter are distinguished as 
muddirai or "stamped." 

The measures of length in common use are an object lesson in Measures of 
anthropometry. Two fingers' breadth (vira-kad'ii) = 1 avgulam ^®"o'^'^- 
(the length of the first joint of the thumb). Four fingers' breadth 
= 1 palm. Three palms = I span {jan). Three spans (or 12 
angulams) = 1 cubit (mulam). Four cubits = 1 mar (fathom), 
the distance between the tips of the middle fingers when the arms 
are outstretched. The yard of 2 cubits {gajani, a Hindustani 
word) and the foot {adi) are also used. 

The ordinary word for mile is kal (= "stone," i.e., mile- 
stone). A mile is also called mukkdl-naltgai-vali, the distance 
one travels in f naligai (the Indian hour of 24 minutes). The 
kddam of 7^ ndligah (=10 miles) is also in use-^ Meal-times 
are sometimes used to describe the length of a journey ; a " break- 
fast-time journey '' = 8 miles. " a tiffin-time journey " = 20 
miles, " a supper-time journey " = 32 miles. In HosiLr Taluk 
kommina kugu, the distance that the bugle known in Kanarese 
as kommu can be heard, is used for a distance of about 2 
miles. Madnkku-duram, or anaippii-duram, signifies the distance 
tharthe furrow is driven before the plough is tui'ned (about 50 
yards). The word kddu, " field, ^' is also used to describe distance. 
" Calling distance " is of course a familiar expression. Similar 
terms are used in Telugu and Kanarese. 

In selling cloth, KaikSlars use the word modi to indicate a 
long piece consisting of 8 pairs of men's cloths or 4 female cloths. 

In measuring land, the square of any long measure was, in the I^nd 
time of Eead's Survey, called gunta in Telugu or Kanarese, and ^•^^"'^® 
kuli in Tamil. In the Baramahal for both Wet and Dry lands 

^ The kddam corresponds to the well-kaown •' coss " of Hindustani (= San- 
skrit krosam, Kan. harddri, Tel. dmada). The a to ada is made up of 4 parugus 
(colloq^nial paruvv) and each farugu contains 2,000 niluvus. 



CHAP. vr. 



a chain, 33 English feet in length, was usually adopted, exactly 
half the length of the chain now used in Survey, which, when 
squared, is equal to ^ aero. The Baramahal (junta or kuli there- 
fore = -jL acre. It was subdivided into 16 annas. 

In the Talaghat taluks a variety of guntas existed, and the 
measurements used for Wot and Dry lauds were different.^ 

In Rasipuram and Chennagiri, three different standards 
were adopted for Dry lands, viz., (1) a " double gunta," twice that 
of Attur ; (2) a '* single gunta '* of the Salem standard ; (3) the 
Coimbatore ballah, 96 fathoms square = 86 acres. In parts of 
Pennagaram, Dharmapuri and Tenkarai-kottai, the Omalur stand- 
ards were adopted. The kuli in Hosur Taluk was 36 feet square. 

The Paimash terminology survives in Mittas. In Rasipuram 
Division the ** ballah " is still called " vallam,'' and 100 " little 
hulls *' make one " big kuli " or " sey." In the south of the 
District the setj varios from 1"75 acres to 2'50, and a big and 
little sey are recognised. The " vallams " vary from 5 to 8 
acres. In Attur there survives a kani (Anglice *' oawney "), 
which is 112 acres near Gangavalli, and 1 acre elsewhere. In 
Uttankarai an anna (y^ ^*'*'^0 i^ defined as a space sufficient to 
grow a plantain. In out-of-the-way places the old system of 
estimating area by the quantity of seed required to raise a crop 
on it still survives. In Krishnagiri Taluk a kandagam viraippadu 
= 5 acres. So in the southern taluks a " five poihi field," an 
** eight vallam field " are spoken of. A madakku or " turn " 
(apparently of ploughing-cattle) = ^ acre. Anaippu is explained 
as the area that can be ploughed by 2 pairs of cattle in a day, and 
varies from half to one acre. Er-ulavu (a " plough's-ploughing ") 
is a similar term. The pangu (" share '') still exists in Inam 
villages, and is said to equal 16 acres in Dry land, and 2 
to 2^ in "Wet. The term is vague, however, for it signifies 
merely the shares into which a common holding is divided among 

^ Locality. 

Wet or 

Size of gunta or Auli. 




Talaks now includod "| 
in Tiruchengodu 
and Omalur. J 



Rasipuram ... ..."1 

Chennagiri ... ... J 







64 X 04 fathoms of 8 ft. 

29 X 29 ft 

2t X 24 fathoms of G ft. 4J in. ... 
32 X 32 ft 

3G X 36 fathom* of 6 ft. 4i in. ... 
9x9 fathoms of G It. 4^ in. 

32'072 ft. square 





* The karai is a larger division of coparcenary land, and is supposed to 
contain Dry, Wet and Garden fields. The kirai is divided into pangus. 



The ryot's diviaion of time is an epitome of his daily life. CIIAP. VI. 
About two hours before day-break is " the time when Venus Weights 
rises " (if Venus happens to be a morning star). Shortly after measures. 
this comes " first cock-crow." If he has a garden to be irrigated, 
it is now (4-30 a.m.) " baling time," Half an hour later comes 
" second cock-crow." ^ Then there is light in the east, " the 
earth becomes visible," " the sky grows red " and day breaks. 
These expressions convey as definite a meaning to his mind as 
hours and minutes do to those who are used to them. When the 
sun is " one mar (fathom) high " it is " time to yoke the morning 
plough." Breakfast-timo varies in different localities, according 
to the habits of the people of the place. It ranges between 7 and 
10 A.M. and is variously described as "early kanji time," " morn- 
ing porridge time " (Tamil Jcali = ragi pudding), " the time 
for eating last night's rice " (literally " old-rice-time"). Between 
8 and 9 a.m. the sun is " one palmyra- tree high." Between 10 
and 11 A.M. is the " time when cattle are let out for grazing." 
With noon comes ^' uchi-kalam^' (literally "crown-time"), "the 
hour when the sun is over the crown of the head." Some time 
between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. the mid-day meal is eaten, at " hot 
rice time" or '' full-moal time." Between 1 and 2 p.m. is the 
hour when the sun begins to decline {adz sdya). In the heat of 
the day cattle are allowed to rest, but towards 3p.Mc is " the time 
when the cattle are driven out." The " hour for yoking the 
evening plough " follows immediately, while at home it is the 
" time when in a big household they pound kambu " or " begin 
to prepare the evening meal." The downward course of the sun 
is measured again in terms of a " palmyra tree " or " fathom." 
Then comes " the time when the evening grows dim " (Tamil 
= mdlai masanga) " the hour when lamps are lit," "when writing 
cannot be read," " Hirannya's hour," the hour when that 
Demon met his death at the hand of Vishnu, the Man-Lion, 
(Asura-sandhyd'Velai). 7 p.m. is " the hour when the field 
labourer comes home." " Pudding-time " follows, and shortly 
after one of the household takes fond to the watchers in the pens ; 
" sheep-fold meal-time." Last comes the " hour when the village 
becomes quiet ' (Ta,rm\ = ur-adangum-neram), and the night watch- 
ers leave for the cattle-pens and sheep-folds (Tamil = patti-aU 
neram, literally the " pen-man-hour," a terseness of expression 
not easy to improve upon). The word jdmam, which properly 
means a watch of 3 hours' duration at any time of the day or 
night, is applied in Salem District to the hour of mid-night. The 
old vernacular divisions of time are almost obsolete. Even the 

1 Of. S. Mark's Gospel, XI7, 30. 








naligai of 24 minutes is not commonlj spoken of. A ryot, when 
asked at wliat hour of the day an event took place, will nsually 
point to the position the sun then occupied. The rising and set- 
ting of the raoon are useful aids to memory, and people who live 
near railways fix time by the passing trains. Ryots who come to 
Court sometimes show a familiarity with hours and minutes which 
their status hardly warrants, a familiarity which is not seldom due 
to "tutoring." Very few people can tell the time by the stars. 
In distributing water from irrigation channels, two systems are 
in vogue to time the '• turns." One is by the hinni^ a small brass 
bowl with a minute hole in the bottom of it, which is floated on a 
chatty of water and sinks in about 20 minutes.^ The other method 
is for the Nirganti (as the person who distributes the water is 
called) to calculate the time by measuring his shadow. 

On taking charge of the " Ceded Districts " in 1792, Read 
and his Assistants were hampered in their administration with a 
" various and perplexing currency," which Read did his best to 
*' annihilate." Both the Hindu system of pagodas and fanams, 
and the Mughal system of mohnrs and rnpeos were in vogue, and 
most puzzling varieties existed of dach denomination of coin. Read, 
writing in 1794, gives a list of 29 different gold coins, 15 silver 
coins and 8 copper coins in which revenue duos were tendered. In 
the northern part of the District rents were at the time expressed 
in Kantiraya (" Kanteroy ") fanams, and in the south in " Gropali "'^ 
fanams. The former represents the famous mintage of Kantlrava 
Narasa Raja of Mysore (1638-59), the origin of the latter is 
uncertain. The pagoda (variihan) existed as far back as the 
Chalukya period, and derives its vernacular name from the fact 
that it was impressed with the symbol of a boar, one of the incar- 
nations of Vishnu, and the crest of Chalukya as well as Vijaya- 
nagar kings. No pagodas were actually minted by Kautirava 
Narasa Raja, but accounts were kept in terms of an imaginary 

1 See p. 236. 

» Regariling the " Gopali " fanam Mr. T. Desikacbariar, Diwan iiahadiir, 
writes : — 

A " Gopali " fanam weighing more than 5 grains is recorded as having boon 
received in the Madras Government Central Maseum in 1874 from the Salem 
District. Neither Captain Tafnell nor Dr. Gerscn da Ounha, both of whom have 
published their fanams, nor Sir Walter Elliott, has alluded to the "Gopali." In 
the Ran^aohari-Desikachari collection is a fanam with the figure of " Krishna 
with the flute "—" Vcnugopala "in Sanskrit— on the obverse, and the Niigari 
legend 5^ " Mva," standing for " Sam vat," on the reverse. The fanam with 
such an obverse was probably known in common parlance as the " Gopali." 
Chalukya fanams occur now and then in the Salem, Bellary and Dangalore 
Districts along with " Kanteroys." The fanam with the figure of Gopala above 
referred to was probably of the times of one of the later Chalukyas. " 

The Madhura-Qopdla-chakra is referred to in the Ettappur Sdsanam of 
171-1 (Vol. II, p. 298). 


ooin valued at 10 of his fanaras. At the time of PTaidar's usurpa- CHAP. VI. 
tioii, the coins in general circulation were those minted by the Weights 
Ikk§ri Poligars of Nagar ( = Bednur in Shimoga District, ]s[easore9. 

Mysore). On the capture of Bedniir in 1763 Ilaidar decided to 

issue his own coins, adopting the Bcdnur pagodas as a model. 
Haidar's pagodas were known to Read as Bahaduri pagodas. Tipu 
in turn issued his own pagodas, which became known as Sultaui 
pagodas, and he also minted mohurs and rupees, known respect- 
ively as Sultani Ashrafi and Sultaui or Imami rupees. The coins 
of Haidar and Tipu did not, it appears, obtain general recognition, 
for Munro, writing in 1796, surmises that all revenue accounts in 
the Bararaahal were kept in " Naggarie fanams " (probably tho 
same as the Ikkeri coinage of Bednur), till Tipu substituted 
" Kanteroy " fanams in their stead. The rapid development of 
Pondicherry under Dupleix and his successors led to a large 
development of trade between Pondicherry and Mysore, and a 
heavy influx of Pondicherry rupees'into the Baramahal in payment 
of goods exported, and to this is probably due the fact, alluded to 
by Munro, that, among the mercantile classes, rupees were prefer- 
red to pagodas. When the Company's "Investment" was 
established in Salem, Eead was called upon to provide the Com- 
mercial Resident with Pondicherry rapeos. Ey 1796, however, 
the coinage of silver at Pondicherry was discontinued,^ and the 
Commercial Resident was asked to take Surat rupees in their 
stead. Meanwhile the pagoda system was adhered to in the land 
revenue administration, and revenue accounts were kept in terms 
of pagodas, fanams and cash. An attempt was made to establish 
the star pagoda as a standard, and on 29th June 1793, orders were 
issued to Mr. Benjamin Roebuck, Assay Master, to start a mint 
at Krishnagiri, and another at Salem, for the coinage of pagodas, 
fanams, Arcot rupees and duddus, the idea being to convert all 
specie tendered into Company's coin.^ The star pagoda was divi- 
ded into 45 maili fanams,^ and the maili f anam into 80 cash. For 
the convenience of the ryots and Tahsildars, an elaborate Table of 
Exchange was drawn up. subject apparently to frequent revision, 
declaring at what rates, in terms of star pagodas, the many coins in 
circulation would be accepted at Government treasuries. Any 
attempt to reduce the list of coins that could be accepted in pay- 
ment of Government dues was fraught with difficulty. As Read 
pointed out, the various coins were articles of trade, and their face 
value meant nothing. The value of any particular denomination 

* Ane. Rec. No. 259, of. No8. 246, 24-7, 259 and 2G1. 

2 Both mints apper.r to have been working by August 1793. 

' Even in February 1796 the number of fanauos to the star pagoda was not 
definitely fixed, and Munro protests against Read's action in oaloqlating 44i 
fanams to the pagoda. 








of coin as a medium of exchange depended on what people would 
give for them, and this '* market value " fluctuated from time to 
time and varied from place to place. If Government were to 
insist on the revenue being paid iu one particular kind of currency, 
the shroffs would be sure to buy np the available coius of that 
currency, and, by creating a " corner," they would intliot groat 
hardship on the public. The establishment of mints was a failure ; 
not only was it expensive, it made matters worse, for the 
Company's coin itself became subject to fluctuations iu market 
value. In Fasli 1204-05 (1794-6) there was a very considerable 
rise in the value of silver with respect to gold, a rise attributed by 
Bead to the discontinuance of the coining of rupees at Pondicherry . 
Hence in 1796 the rupee was in far greater demand among all 
classes than the star pagoda. The preference for silver was 
aooentuated by the fact that there was a large proportion of filed 
and counterfeit star pagodas in circulation, and ryots ran a 
greater risk of being duped if they accepted pagodas instead of 
rupees in exchange for their produce. Throughout the southern 
taluks the rupee had, by 1796, attained such general vogue 
that the Revenue oflicors settled Eevenue demands with the ryots 
in terms of rupees, though for account purposes the amount was 
expressed in pagodas. Almost the whole of the gold coins tendered 
at the Government treasuries were received from merchants, and 
not from ryots. When a ryot borrowed from a merchant, he was 
paid in pagodas, but bound himself to repay the loan in rupees, 
and it was a common practice for Patois and Talisildars to sub- 
stitute pagodas for rupees received in the collection of revenue. 
The Kantaraya and Gopali fanams had by this time almost passed 
out of circulation ; in the early years of Head's administration 
those that were received in collections were re-issued to the troops, 
a proceeding which created so much dissatisfaction that it was in 
1794 decided to stop the receipt of th6m. The coins issued from 
the local mints never attained popularity. Krishnagiri pagodas 
had actually been rejected both by the Eevenue Treasury at 
Madras and by the Paymaster in Salem District. The mint at 
Salem appears to have been closed by 1795. Early in 1796 Munro 
recommended that all the Krishnagiri pagodas should be called in 
and received at their actual value, and re-coined at Madras, and by 
March in the same year the mint at Krishnagiri was discontinued. * 

^ Letter from Government to Board of Revenue No. 182, dated 20th March 
1796. There were three coinages of pagodas at Krishnagiii. The first issne 
nnmbered only 6,788, th'* second (which contained an excess of pure gold of the 
weight of 2 ragi grains) numbered 17,173, and the third (which had an excess 
of 1^ paddy grains' weight above the Madras standard) numbered 14,875. (See 
Ane, Uecords.) 


In February a notification of Kead's had reduced the number CHAP. VI. 
of coins in which revenue payments would be accepted to Wkigiits 
17, namely, star pagodas, Bahadnri pagodas, Sultani pagodas, measoeeb. 
Ikkeri pagodas, Old and New Porto Novo rupees, Old and New — 

Arcot rupees, Old and New Pondicherry rupees, Company's 
rupees, Imami rupees, K.autaraya and Haja Gopali chakrams, 
maili fanams, elephant pice ^ and Krishna pice. 

The revenue accounts of the Salem District were written up in 
terms of star pagodas, fanams and cash, till well on into the nine- 
teenth century, but meanwhile the Company's rupees were steadily 
gaining ground, and in 1835 the controversy was settled once for all 
by. the adoption for all India of the Madras rupee of 180 grains. 

The memory of the old notation still lingers. Old people still 
reckon in the " pagoda " {vardhaa) of Sj rupees, and poorer 
classes in the duddu of 4 pies, six of which make one panam, the 
general name for a two- anna piece. Thus a half- anna piece is 
popularly called 1-| duddu or -^ panam. The pie is known as 
dawbidi throughout the Baramahal ; less generally so in the 
southern taluks, where kdsu is the usual term, and ^a«,sa is also 
used. In Atttir, however, kasu = 2 pies. Jalli is another 
name for a pie. In tJttankarai a three-pie piece is called chinna 
duddu. In Hosur and the Baramahal two pies are called 
duggani. A two-aniia piece is called beda in Hosur, and " big 
anna " (Telugu jtjerfrfa ana) in parts of Krishnagiri. In tJttankarai 
this same coin is caWe^ chinna panam to distinguish it from periya 
panam, a term applied to the four-anna piece. This last coin is 
known in Hosur as pavala. The popular term for a sound coin as 
distinguished from a counterfeit is kumpani panam (Company's 

^ The Elephant Pice (Ane-Kasn) was first coined by Krishna Eaja of Mysore. 






UoADs — Hifitory of raaintontinco — Mr. Orr — Road CeHs — MiU-age — Triuik Kuads 
Sheraroy Hills — Avenues— Bridges— Ferries. Railways — Famine Feeder 
Linos — Railway Projects. Post Office. TKiiKORAPHs. 

The British were not the first road-makers in India. Tipu's 
road-engineoring was of no mean oi-der. The l)est known road 
associated with his name ran through the wild broken country on 
the left bank of the Kavori to the west of Hosfir and Dharraapuri 
Taluks. The route lay from Denkani-kota via Anchctti and 
Geratti to Pennagaram, thence via Moraaara-halli and Donnaknt- 
ta-halli to the Toppur Eiver.^ Wherever this road passed over 
rock or undulating ground, all vestiges have been washed away by 
over a century of rain. There are level stretches, however, still 
well preserved, and marked by fine avenues. A portion soutli of 
Pennagaram would even now bo fit for a carriage road, and the 
road can be traced for some distance near Anchetti, and again at 
Morasara-halli. Another important road of Tipu's time was that 
connecting Krishnagiri with Budi-kota. a once important fort in 
Mysore State, seven miles from Bowringpet railway station. It 
is still called Dandu (Ini or the "Army Boad." '^ The favourite 
Grhat used by Haidar and Tipu for access to the plains was that 
via Eaya-kota, Palak5du and Toppur. The route via Singarapet 
was also used by them. 

The importance of road maintenance did not escape Col. Bead, 

maintenance, and by 1802 aa many as 156 miles of road had been laid down 

round Salem, and planted with avenues throughout. Little 

further was done, however, till Mr. Orr assumed charge of the 

District in 1829. 

To Mr. Orr the District is indebted for its chief roads, grandest 
avenues, and a number of well-built rest-houses known as " Orr's 
Choultries." By 1836 Mr. Orr had made '616 miles of high-road 
at an average cost of Es. 1 34 per mile, besides 375 miles of cross 
roads ; 20 bridges were built, and 196 stone dams were made, at an 

Histoiy of 

Mr. Orr. 

Se Vol. 11, p. 109. 

See Vol. II, p. 108. 


agc^re^ate cost of Rs. 14,020. The initial expenditure was made CHAP. vji. 
almost wholly on his own responsibility, and " no better proof ^^oads. 
could be given of his success than the estimation in which his 
work was held by the natives, who voluntarily agreed to tax them- 
selves for the maintenance of these roads." This voluntary tax 
of one rupee per oart was first imposed in 1836, and continued till 
April 1860. But this was not all. Mr. Orr induced the ryots to 
plant avenues and topes. Under the system introduced by him, 
the number of avenue trees planted up to 1842 amounted to 
r<?9,414, the number previously existing in the District being only 
32,960, and the number of palmyra trees planted amounted to 
1,819,161.^ The ryots were permitted to enjoy the usufruct of 
the avenues and topes they had thus planted on the understand- 
ing that they should keep the roads in repair. " In those days it 
was a far cry to Madras, and as a rule what ' master pleased ' 
was done. Old ryots still toll the tale of the ' zulum ' made by 
the irascible Collector, whose horsewhip occasionally made 
Ramaswami wince ; but generations of grateful travellers and the 
sufferers themselves in the end testified to the profit and comfort 
derived from these travaux forces.'^ '^ 

After Mr. Orr left the District in 1838, the villagers did not act Road Cess. 
up to their obligations, Government contributions proved inade- 
quate, and the roads soon fell into disrepair, their upkeep had 
before. long to be taken over by (rovernment. To meet the 
increasing cost, Governmeut in 1859 imposed a cess of 2 per cent. 
of the land revenue on all lands which enjoyed the benefit of 
Mr. Brett's Taram Kammi, the fund so formed to be expended by 
the Collector and the District Engineer on " District Eoads," the 
trunk roads still being kept up at the cost of Provincial Funds. 
In 1865 an Act was passed legalising the cess at six pies in 
the rupee on all lands in occupation, under whatever tenure held. 
This Act was superseded by the Local Fund Act IV of 1871. 
Meanwhile the roads had for years been a bone of contention 
between the Eevenue officers und the Public Works Department, 
the former affirming that they did the work cheaper and better 
than the professional department. For some time the work of 
maintenance was divided between the two departments, the 
tendency being gradually to transfer roads from the Department 
of Public Works to the Collector. Finally in 1880 the Local 
Fund Department assumed entire responsibility. 

The mileage of roads in the whole District rose from 1,189 
in 1871-2 to over 1,828 in 1912-13. The figures for the 

^ S.D.M., Vol. I, p. 390. * S.D.M., Vol. I, p. 195. 



CHAP. VII. District as at present constituted, are shown in the snhjoined 
KoADs. statement. 




MUeage, 3l8t March 1911. 

Number of 

miles and 






per 10 


miles of 







Krishnagiri ... 



M. F. 

47 7 

21 4 
31 1 

22 1 
18 2 
29 S 
26 3 
10 7 

M. F. 

40 5 
74 6 
86 1 
71 3 
57 2 
110 1 
71 3 

M. F. 

129 2 
69 3 
76 3 
63 3 
136 3 
131 6 
75 2 

M. F. 

217 6 

155 5 
193 5 

156 7 
177 5 

218 3 
22J 4 

157 4 

M. F, 

2 2 

3 6 
1 7 

1 7 
3 1 

2 4 
1 3 

Total ... 

207 4 

584 6 

759 6 

1,501 7 

2 4 

In addition to this, some 92 miles of road are maintained by 
the Forest Department.^ 

Before the construction of railways, the Baramahftl was the 
tri- junction of three of the most important thoroughfares in the 

1 . The Madras-Calicut road enters the District near Mattur at 
mile 150^ and passes through Mattur, Immattur, Dharmapuri, 
Topptir, Omalur, Tara-maugalam and Sankaridrug, quitting the 
District by the Kumara-palaiyam bridge, opposite Bhavani, at 
mile 246i. 

2. The Madras-Bangalore road branches off from the Calicut 
trunk road at Vaniyambadi, and passes through Bargur, Krishna- 
giri, Sulagiri and Hosur, leaving British territory at the 193rd 
mile, in the limits of Jujuvadi village. 

3. The easiest, though not the shortest, route from Bangalore to 
Malabar, passes through Hosur, Eaya-kota and Palakodu, joining 
the Madras trunk road at Adaman-kottai at mile 182^. 

In addition to these three routes the branch route from 
Omalur to Salem affords communication via Attnr with Cuddalore, 
and via Namakkal with Trichinopoly. Another useful route is 

* Vide page 267. 



from Krishuagiri through Mattur and Singarapet to Ciiddalore, CHAP. VII. 
though in tho earlj days of British rule it was much infested Uoads. 
with robbors. Later ou, a more direct route with Madras was 
opened by the road from Tiruppatttir to Salem via IJttankarai, 
Harur and the Manjavadi Ghat. 

The Shevaroj Hills are well supplied with roads. From Shavaroy 
Salem access is easily obtained, either by the New Ghat road, 
practicable for carts or even motor-cars, or the Old Ghat, still used 
by pedestrians, horsemen, chair-coolies and pack-animals. Bridle- 
paths ascend from Kadaiyampatti and from the Manjavadi Ghat. 
A road, suitable for wheeled traffic, runs from Yercaud, via Craig- 
more and Vellalakadai, to Cauvery Peak, and another from 
Yercaud, via Hopeville, to Maugalam, the circuit being completed 
by a road from Mangalam to Cauvery Peak, constructed by Mr. 
S. M. Hight at his own cost. The New Vaniyar Eoad, from 
Yercaud to the Manjavadi Ghat, was finished in 1908. 

When the Madras-Calicut railway was under construction, 
it was hoped that Mallapuram w^ould be the centre of Shevaroy 
Hill traffic, and a railway station of unusually large dimensions was 
begun. In 1858^ a ghat road was constructed by the Forest 
Department, which it was intended to develop into a regular cart- 
road for the conveyance of railway fuel, timber and bamboos. Its 
course ran from Mallapuram up the Yeppadi valley, from the 
head of which it rose by zigzags to Muluvi. The total distance 
from Mallapnram to Yercaud was 19 miles (Mallapuram to the foot 
6 miles, ascent to Muluvi 3 miles and from Muluvi to Yercaud 8 
miles). The project was eventually abandoned, the zigzag portion 
of the track is now thickly overgrown with jungle, and much of 
the revetment is washed away. 

The New Ghat road was begun in April 1900. The road 
was opened for traffic in December 1902, though the work was 
not completed till March 1903. The new road branches off from 
the road from Salem to the foot of the Old Ghat at the sixth 
furlong of the fifth mile. For nearly six miles it ascends steadily 
without a turn. It th:n begins to zigzag sharply up the face of 
the great rook mass on which Mundagambadi is situated, and 
after twenty-two turns it reaches the bnnd of the Yercaud lake. 
The total length is 12 m. 6f. 180 ft., the ruling gradient one in 16. 
There is one girder bridge of 40' span, another of 66'. The actual 
cost was Es. 3,71,000. To secure an unfailing supply of water for 

^ The constrnction of the Mallapuram Ghat road was first recommended by 
Assistant Surgeon England, who died of fever contracted in the survey of the 
Shevaroys in 1824, The rond is said to have teen sanctioned between 1840 and 
1850, and 3 miles were constructed, when owing to the outbreak of the Mutiny, 
the Bobeme was dropped. 





Avenues . 


road repairs in dry weather, there is an olahorato arrangement 
of pipes, filled partly by gravitation from the Yercand lake, partly 
by an aeromotor pnmp. The construction of feeder roads was 
undertaken by the Public Works Department. The cost for 31 
miles 4 far longs 600 feet of road was Es. 88,179. 

No less than 1,068^ miles of road, over three-fifths of the total 
mileage, are provided with avenues. The finest avenues are in 
the Baxamahal, and are composed of tamarind, relieved now and 
again by banyan. The tamarind is more satisfactory for hardiness, 
shade and produce, as the banyan is apt to fall in high winds. 
Tamarind does not thrive well in Hosiir and pungam is a poor 
substitute. Perhaps the grandest stretches of avenue in the 
District are on the road from Mahendra-mangalam past Palakodu 
to within a short distance of Dharmapuri. There are some fine 
trees on the trunk road near Podgtr, in tJttankarai Taluk, and 
sDuth of Toppur in Omalur Taluk, and close to 8alem itself, the 
station road between Hastampatti and " Charing Cross " being 
remarkably picturesque. 

The produce of the avenues is a most valuable asset to the 
Local Funds, though it fluctuates in a startling manner. At the 
beginning of 1910-1911 it was estimated that the avenues con- 
tained 186,705 trees. The avenues in the 8ub-Collpctorate were 
first rented out in 1865 by Mr. Thomas, then Sub-Collector, on his 
own authority, and in the following year the Board authorised 
the renting out of all the avenues in the District. This resumption 
by Grovemment of the usufruct of trees which Mr- Orr had 
guaranteed to the villagers caused much heart-burning, and the 
question of the right of the ryots to the avenues was mooted in 
1872 and decided against them, but in ignorance of the real reason, 
which was that the duty of maintaining the roads was no longer 
exacted from the villagers.^ 

A traveller passing through the District along the trunk roads 
from Bangalore to Madras via Stilagiri, to Calicut via Toppur, or 
to Cuddalore via Salem, will find the route within District limits 
completely bridged, the bridges near Paranda-palli,^ near Kurubara- 
palli,^at Bargur, Toppur, Kumara-pilaiyam, Omalur, Salem, Krish- 
napuram, Attur and Talaivasal being substantial enough for all 
ordinary trafiic. The Pennaiyar is also spanned by a good bridge 

* When Mr. Dslyell visited Nattrom-palli on Abkari duty in 1876, an old ryot, 
Dho had planted the avenue in Mr. Orr's lime, advanced his claim, but when Mr. 
Dalyell asked him if it was not true that in former times those who enjoyed the 
usufruct of the avenues repaired the roads at their own cost, the aged cultivator 
put his hand on his mouth and said " Appah." S.D.M., I., 19£ 

* Four miles east of Hosur. 

' Seven miles north-west of Krishnagiii. 



at Bagalur, and the minor streams which cross the triangfle Hosur- CHAP. VII. 

Tali-Denkani-kota arc provided with suitable culverts. Other Roadb. 

routes, however, have been neglected, the lesser streams are crossed 

by the causeways known as " road dams " or " Irish bridges," and 

the larger rivers present rather difficult fords, the most troublesome 

being those across the Penuaiyar at Vadakku-patti,^ Kaveri-pafc- 

iiam,^ Irumattur, and Hanuma-tirtam, that over the Pambar at 

Singarapet, that over the Kambayanallur river at the village of 

that name, and those over the Sweta-nadi at Kdneri-patti and 


The only rivers requiring regular ferries are the Kaveri and Ferries, 
the Pennaiyar. Freshes in the Attur rivers soon subside, and 
traffic waits until the ford is practicable. The management of 
ferries was assigned to the Taluk Boards in 1897.^ There are 20 
Taluk Board ferries across the Kaveri, of which 11 are in Tirucben- 
godu, 4 in Omalur, 8 in Dharmapuri, and 3 in Hosur Taluk. 
Across the Pennaiyar there are two ferries in Krishnagiri and four 
in tJttankarai.^ The right of collecting tolls on ferries for the 
Fasli year is auctioned by the Tahsildar in the month of June. 
The bids are insignificant. The lease for ferries over the Kaveri 
conveys the right to collect tolls on the traffic passing from the left 
to the right bank only ; the proceeds of traffic from the right to the 
left bank is the perquisite of Coimbatore Local Funds. The ferries 
are crossed by means of coracles (parisus) . 

The Broad Gauge West Coast Branch of the South Indian Railw/ys, 
Eailway runs through Salem District from north-east to south- 
west. It enters the District (tJttankarai Taluk) at the 145th mile 
32nd chain from Madras, and quits it at the 241st mile 32nd chain, 
covering a distance of ^6 miles. There are 14 stations within the 
District limits, the first is Samalpatti, the last Kaveri. From 
Samalpatti (1,261 '4 6 ft. above sea-level) the gradient descends to 
the Pennaiyar and re-ascends to Morappur (1,305"03 ft.) and 
Mallapuram (1,386-59 ft.). The highest point is reached, on a 
gradient of 1 in 300, at mile 187^ (just beyond Lokur station) 
where it is 1,508"38 ft. above sea-level. The line then descends 
sharply (the gradient is 1 in 74)** to Kadaiyam-patti (1,243-48 ft.), 
Salem*(919-67 ft.) and MaoDonald's Choultry (783-59 ft.), rises to 
876'38 ft. at Sankaridrug, and descends again to 539*47 ft. at 

* Five miles west of Krishnagiri on the Raya-kota road. 

* A girder bridge of 12 spans of 42J feet eacrh has since been built by the 
District Board over the Pennaiyar at Eaveripatnam. 

' G.O. No. 376, Revenue, dated 29th July 1896. 

* For details see the Taluk Notices, Chapter XV. 
' The steepest gradient is 1 in 70. 




CHAP. VII. Erode. The only bridges of note arc those over the Pcnnaiyar 
Bailways. and Kaveri. The latter is a girder bridge, with two clear spans of 
62' and 20 clear spans of 63' b'. 'J he former consists of 18 semi- 
circular brick arches, each of 30' span. 

The railway w-as open for traffic as far as Tiruppatttlr on May 
23, 1860. The section from Tiruppatttir to Salem was opened 
on Febmary 1, 1861, and that from Salem to Sankaridrug on 
December 1 of the same year, 'i'he next section opened was 
from Sankaridmg to Podantir (May 12, 1862), 

The Taluks of Krishnagiri and Hostlr are served to some 
extent by the Bangalore Branch of the Madras aud Southern 
Mahratta Railway (opened in 1804), the stations of Patchtir, 
Kuppam and Maliir being chiefly utilised. 

Two famine protective lines have recently been opened in the 
District, the first from Tiruppattur to Krishnagiri (25^ miles), the 
second from Morappur to Dharniapuri (18i miles) with an exten- 
sion to Hostir (54^ miles). On the former line, there are three 
stations within the District limits ; on tbe latter lino, there are ten 
stations. The Krishnagiri line was opened for traffic on 
September 18, 1905, the Dharmapuri line on January 18, 1906. 
They were not constructed as paying investments, but to supply 
food to the Taluks of Krishuagiri and Dharmapuri in times of 
famine. The gauge is 2' 6", the highest gradient 1 in 6607, and 
the sharpest curve has a radius of 955'. In constructing the 
Dharmapuri line sleepers of jarrah timber were tried. The 
Krishnagiri Bailway was laid with teak sleepers. 

The Krishnagiri Bailway diverges at a sharp angle from the 
parent line till it reaches the Tiruppatttir-Kriehnagiri load near 
Periyagaram. Thence it runs parallel to the road, except where 
gradients and bends do not permit of its doing so. 

The Dharmapuri line, on leaving Morappur, skirts the high 
ground to the west, rising steadily, so that at 3-2 miles out 
it is 188' above Morappiir. At mile 7 it approaches close to 
the Dharmapuri road, and road and railway cross the same saddle 
between the 7th and 10th miles at 200' above Morappiir. 
Between miles 10 and 15 a tortuous alignment was found 
necessary at the foot of the hills. From mile 15 the lino falls 
by easy grades to Dharmapuri. 
Railway A proposal to connect Hosur with Bangalore is under the 

Projects. consideration of the Mysore Durbar. A loop lino has been pro- 
posed to connect Dharmapuri with Krishnagiri via Palakodu and 

The District Board has levied a railway cess at throe pies in 
the rupee on the annual rent value of all occupied lands since J vlj 



Ist, 1903, and the balance of this on March Slat, 1913, amounted 
to Es. 43,223 iu cash, and Hs. 6,31,100 in Government securities. 
The District Board is constructing a broad gauge line from Sura- 
mang-alam Railway Station to Salem Town and proposes to 
extend the line from Salem Town to Atttir on the metre gauge. 
This lino is eventually to be connected with the line which the 
District Board of South Arcot propose to construct from Ulundur- 
pet to Chinna Salem. Such a lino will bring Salem many miles 
nearer the sea-board, link the District with the deltas of the 
Vellar and Kaveri, and provide an outlet for the surplus grain of 
Attiir l^aluk. The cost of the whole line from Sura-mangalam 
to Attur is estimated at Us. 14,21,545. 

Another project is under consideration, namely, to connect 
Salem with Kartir via Rasipuram, Tattayyangarpatti, Namakkal 
and Nanjai-Mohanur with an alternative alignment from 
Namakkal to Samayapuram on the proposed Pan ruti-Trichinopoly 
chord . 

Till 1854 the Collector of the District was in charge of all 
postal arrangements.^ Dykes writes " The over-worked Col- 
lector-Magistrate is the post-master, and the first step must be to 
give so troublesome an office a separate and distinct supervision. 
The postal arrangements for 8,000 square miles may fairly demand 
an undivided attention. The mails, for instance, are carried on 
men's heads, each man running from 5 to 7 miles ; and to 
be freed only from this single branch of those duties, from the 
responsibility and the trouble of overlooking so numerous an 
establishment as this, would itself be no small gain." ^ The 
first general issue of postage stamps in India dates from Septem- 
ber, 1854, and in the same year the Postal Department was taken 
off the Collector's hands.^ In March 1875 the executive control 
of the Salem Collectorate over its District Post was transferred to 
the Postmaster-General, Madras.* 

For administrative purposes the whole District lies within the 
jurisdiction of the Postmaster of Salem Head Office, who in 
turn ia under the Superintendent of Post Offices, Vellore Division. 


Post Office. 

^ No detailed information is available as to the postal arrangements in the 
District in pre-post-office days. A letter shown me by Mr. Muhammad Habibulla 
Sahib, Khan Bahadur, of Krishnagiri, addressed to that town from Pondicherry 
via Rayakota, bears a post-mark " Pondicheiry 2Gth May 1842, paid 3 annas," 
and another, dated KumbakOnam, .June 2Gth, IS+G, shows on the Kumbakonam 
post-mark a pre-payment of 2 annas, and it also bears the Salem post-mark, 
with date June 30th. This is fairly cheap and quick. 

^ Dykes, p. 377. 

3 For Post Office legislation, see Acts XVII of 1837, XVII of 1864, XIF of 
186G, and VI of 1898. 

* G.O. No. 462, Revenue, dated 20th March 1876. 



CHAP. VII. The subjoined statement illustrates the increase in the work 

Post Office, of the Post Office since 1861-62. 



Lef.tani aud post oarda. 











1q the latter year the value of money orders issued was 
R^. 15,66,264, and the total amount of Savings Bank deposits 
Rs. 2,60,838. 

Telegraph stations were opened at Salem and Hosur in 1884, 
at Yercaud in 1889, at Krishnagiri in 1893, at Mattigiri in 1894, 
at Dharmapnn in 1890, at Tirucheng5du in 1808, and at Sura- 
maugalam in 1908. 

The offices at liosilr 
and Mattigiri belong to 
the Bangalore Division, 
that at Tirucheng5du to 
tho Calicut Division, and 
the rest of the District to 
the Madras Division. The 
relative importance of the 
several stations in 1910 
is shown in the marginal 




stations. 1 





















Saleiu - 












TiruchengOda ,. 




Railway Stations. 








Seasons. Famines— Famine of 1833— Famine of 1866— Famine of 1877-78— (I) 
Till f.he end of 1876 ; (2) January to September 1877 ; (3) September 1877 
to end of 1878— Increase of crime — Effect on Eev6nne — Famine of 1891-93, 

The capricious nature oE the rainfall has already been referred to CHAP. viil. 
on pp. 22, 23. Dry cultivation, on which alone the bulk of the 
population depends for food, begins with the showers of April and 
May, and the first crop matures with the rains of July and August. 
The second crop is sown as soon as the first crop is harvested, and 
drought in October or November will ruin it. 

Hostir and the Baramahal are more susceptible to drought 
than the Talaghat taluks, and _ of the latter, Tirucheng5du and 
Omalur arc the first to suffer. Attur and the Easipuram Divisions 
are considered safe from famine ; the former is protected by the 
Vasishta-nadi and Sweta-nadi, and the latter by innumerable 
wells with good sub-soil water. At settlement, a deduction of 20 
per cent of the gross outturn in the northern taluks and of 15 
per cent in the Talaghat was allowed on account of vicissitudes of 

The danger of drought made itself felt as soon as the District 
came under the Company's rule, for famine threatened in 1792, 
and Captain Eead established two poor-houses for a short period — 
one at Tiruppattur and the other at Pennagaram. 

Four times during the nineteenth century scarcity deepened 
into famine with all its terrible concomitants, namely, in 1833, in 
1866, 1877-78 and 1891-92. There was acute distress also in 
1845 and 1857, dates which suggest a cyclic recurrence of famine 
once in eleven years. 

The cultivation season for Fasli 1242 (1832-33) opened favour- 
ably, and the ryots engaged actively in field operations. Then 
the rains failed entirely, and utterly ruined the crops. In a short 
time " the price of grain rose 71 per cent .. for there was famine in 
the neighbouring districts also, and the people robbed that they 
might live. They eagerly sought for the wild fruits of the jungle 
and of the trees that lined the wayside ; they turned up the earth 
for such roots as possessed nourishment ; there was nowhere to fly 


Famine of 



Famine of 

CHAP. VIII. to, and the oountry was covered with the bodies of those who died 

Famines. of starvation. Fourteen thousand deaths were reported from 

cholera alone, which probably was not a tithe of the number that 

80 fell ; and the sickness extended to the brute creation, for the 

cattle also were exterminated by herds." ' 

The actual mortality ia this famine is not known. It is 
estimated that over 28 per cent, of the population perished. ^ 

The famine of 1866 was by comparison " a mere flash in the 
pan, but, while it lasted, it was sharp enough." In 1864 and 1865 
rains were neither general nor timely, and the year 1866 opened 
with the District on the vei^e of famine. The early rains of 1 866 
almost entirely failed. The public health suffered, and cattle 
disease became prevalent. By the end of Juno the Collector 
reported that *' thousands of cattle had perished from want of 
water and pasture, and thousands of cattle were in a dying- state 
for want of food, and unable to walk." Prices were almost beyond 
the reach of the poorer classes. In Timppattur, Uttankarai, 
Krishnagiri and Salem, the poor were using for food roasted 
tamarind seeds, jungle roots, aloes, and the fruit of priokly-poar. 
All the tanks and wells were dry. The dry crops, cultivated in a 
few places where slight rain had fallen, were withering, and, almost 
everywhere, both wet and dry lands were left waste. Pi'ivatc 
subscriptions were raised by the people of Salem for the relief of 
sufferers within the town, and by July this took practical effect in 
the opening of a " Kanji-house" where 200 to 3,000 paupers were 
fed daily. The example of Salem was imitated by several other 
towns in the District, and further funds were provided by the 
Belief Committee in Madras. The prices of grain continued to 
rise, till in September ragi stood at 9^ seers per rupee. Work for 
the able-bodied was provided, as far as possible. Fortunately in 

1 Dykes, pp. 302-304. 

* An interesting incident of this famine is the stend made by the then 
Snb-Collect-or, Mr. Cathoart, against the practice of subsidising indigenous 
religious institutions. Writing on 25th August 1832, he says "Among tho first 
official letters I received on coming to SaU;m was one sanctioning Rs. 50 to be 
expended in each of the three taluks or districts under me, for the invocation of 
rain. Rain is indeed much required ; the firKt crops have been almost lost in 
consequence of the deficiency. I called the taluk servants to give a report of 
what was done ; some Brahmans were to engage in prayer to one of their gods 
for ten or twelve days, standing up to their nooks in water, that their devotions 
might, I suppose, be instant. Others were to be employed to avert the anger of 
certain planets ; and some to propitiat<e other gods, the whole to be fed at the 
expense of Government, to be superintended by Government servants, and to be, 
in every respect on the part of Government, seeking for tlie attainment of its 
revenue by these means," Mr. Cathoart declined to issue the orders, and the 
Collector issued them on his behalf. 


October good rain fell, and cultivation started in good earnest. CHAP. VIII. 
By November ragi had fallen to 12f seers per rupee, and the crisis Famines, 
was over. The harvest was good, but though the human mortality 
was not high, it is estimated that 150,000 head of cattle perished 
from sheer starvation. 

The famine of 1877-78 was the worst the District has ever Famine of 
experienced. " The tail end of the north-east monsoon failed both /^n i-jn'tiiQ 
in 1873 and 1874.^ In 1875 the north-east monsoon was almost end of 1870. . 
a total failure, especially the latter part of it, and in 1876 the 
south-west and north-east monsoons, on both of which the District 
depends for its water-supply, failed almost completely. The pinch 
began to be felt in October 1876, but people still hoped. In 
November the failure of the monsoon became an established fact, 
grain dealers took alarm, and prices rose at a bound. On the 
average, for five years ending 1874, the price of ragi in Salem 
was, from January to July, from 37 to 38 lb. per rupee, and from 
August to December it ranged from 35 to 40 lb. From January 
to Juno 1875 the staple was sold at 31 or 32 lb. per rupee. From 
July to November prices rose to 23 lb., and between January and 
June 1876 the price was from 20 to 24 lb. From July a steady 
rise set in, reaching 14 lb. in October, 10 lb. in November, and 9 
lb. in December, when the famine was fairly recognised and 
starvation stared us in the face on every side. 

" The price list is not quite an index of the scarcity, as (2) January 
quotations for dry grains were often a mere form, there being none 1377^^ *^™ 
in the market. The bulk of the population was fed on imported 
rice, the price of which rose up in August 1877 to one rupee 
for 11 lb. and for a short period to one rupee for 5 lb. On one 
date, at the market on the Shevaroy Hills, the price actually rose 
to one rupee for 2 lb. For the first nine months the district stafO 
was battling almost unaided with the famine. With the exception 
of one Bengal Civilian, whose services were chiefly utilised in 
trying magisterial cases, a Statf Corps Officer, a Medical Officer 
on inspection duty, and a Special Deputy Collector or two made 
up the sum of the assistance from outside. Meanwhile the duty 
of providing and superintending oamps, hospitals, works, kitchens 
and payments, the inspection and organisation of gratuitous relief, 
and, in fact, the whole burden and heat of the day, was thrown on 
the ordinary district staff. 

" It was not until September 1877, when 136,941 deaths had (3) Septem- 
been registered, when 807,776 of the population were being end of 1878. 
gratuitously fed, and the south-west monsoon had failed, that the 
Viceroy's visit bore fruit. Then the Public Works Department, 

^ The description which follows is Mi% LeFanu's. 




Famine of 

whose share in famine relief works had previously been somewhat 
restricted, was more largely employed in providing work for the 
poor, and a flood of famine ofRoers from all parts of India was 
poured over the District. The heavy rains wore then setting in, 
and the burden and heat of the day were past ; but distress still 
prevailed, and the sequeJce of the groat crisis wore still strongly 
marked. It would be hard to exaggerate the horrors of that 
trying time, when cholera, starvation, small-pox, famine, diarrhoea, 
dysentery, dropsy and fever were claiming their victims by 
thousands ; the dead and dying lay so close in the camp hospitals, 
that it was difficult to move without treading on them, and hard 
to distinguish the one from tho other, and up to the pitiless sky 
floated the black or yellow-green smoke from the pyres on which 
as many as 21 bodies wore sometimes burnt together in a single 
camp ; when the cattle lay gasping for breath, licking the dust for 
food, and when for miles not a drop of water was to be found.^ 
The fruits of the avenue trees, tho very loaves and grasses, tho 
roots and berries of the jungles, failed to meet tho demand ; the 
ties of maternal affection failed, and even respectable women sold 
their honour for food. But tho sufferings of the people woro not 
yet over. Tho survivors were to a groat extent smitten, a shower 
of rain or a broath of cold wind smote them down by hundreds, 
guinea-w^orm prevailed to an extent never witnessed before, and 
such was the depraved blood and vitality of the poorer classes, 
that tho slightest scratch or abrasion turned into a spreading and 
sluggish ulcer. 

" The exoessive north-west monsoon of 1877 drowned the 
crops ; blights, smut, and insects, in quantities before unheard of, 
spoiled or devoured tho residue. Then came tho locusts, almost 
shutting out the sky and covering square miles in their flight. 
The south-west monsoon of 1878 was also excessive, and the 
kambu crop suffered heavily, the tender flowors being washed off, 
so that the seeds oould not form. Then, again, from their fast- 
nesses in the jungles and on rooky hill sides camo the young 
locusts, in uniform of black and gold, marching in armies to the 
cultivated fields. The Grovomment officers of all kinds did their 
best to cope with this last stroke of misfortune, but the ryots 
mostly looked on in helpless inaction, and would not struggle 
against their fate. Even this, however, passed away, and with 
the north-east monsoon of 1878 oame the finest crop ever seen in 
the District ; stocks were replenished, prices fell, numbers on 
works and relief fell off, and tho weary officials were at last 
released from their heavy tasks." 

* To save their cattle, ryots stripped their bats of thatch for fodder. 



As the famine progressed, the jail population increased. In chap. vtit. 
1877 there were 6,688 admissions into the Central Jail and 18,913 Faminkb. 
into stibsidiary jails. " The jails and their compounds were often increase of 
full to overflowing. There was little need to guard the prisoners, crime, 
who fared bettor in jail than outside. Special buildings, often of 
the flimsiest character, had to be erected to house the enhanced 
numbers, but there was little or no mortality which could be 
traced to overcrowding." ^ 

The subjoiued statement ^ gives an idea of the rise and fall of 
the Grreat Famine : — 



d at . 

2 5r, 


s 1 

a> u 

O 2^ 


0) ^ 


<C Q. 

^ i 


1 a 



ti T 


<M ..H 

O Sil) 

'- S r- 

0) " C^ 

^ in 

c3 o 

0) CM .^ 

<» 3 CM 

o bo 

0) H ^ 

7^ CO 

•^ ® r- 

*" Ji 

-^ ® _. 

rO +3 aj 

s> <0 

S % 

2 fci <a 

3 bo S 

O 'M 




1 sbS 


f^ o S 











.Tail nary 








February ... 





























































September ... 


















November .. 

G 1,070 








December ... 









* The following figures, which show the number of persons convicted for 
various offences under the Indian Penal Code between 1875 and 1878, are very 

significant : — 

Nature of offence. 










Culpable homicide 















House-breaking ... 










Other offences 





Total ... 






2 The number on relief at the end of December 1876 was 12,311, and the 
number on gratuitous relief 1,952. The figures in the statement are those for 
the close of each month, and are taken from the Report of the Famine Commis- 
sion of 1879, Vol. II, Chap. III. 




Effect on 

Famioe of 

In the three years, Faslia 1287-9, the number of processes 
issued for default of revenue -was 765,000, and in 63,000 cases 
property was actually sold.^ Rs. 8,50,000- of the land revenue 
had to be remitted. In Fasli 1 289, the amount of property trans- 
ferred by documents registered had risen from Es. 19,85,733 
to Rs. 24,88,568, owing:, as the Registrar-General observed, to 
" pressure of the famine inducing well-to-do classes to pledge or 
sell their lands." Close on three-quarters of a million sterling were 
spent on famine relief in the District, and £50,000 from the 
Mansion House Fund were scattered broadcast among the people. 
It was found necessary to remit as irrecoverable Rs. 7,00,000, 
arrears of land revenue, in addition to the 8^ lakhs already 
remitted. Nor was this all, for the net ryotwari revenue, which 
was Rs. 16,70,000 in 1874, had fallen in 1879 to Es. 13,33,500, 
a decrease of Rs. 3,36,500. 

The famine of 1891-92 was a small thing compared with the 
famine just described. The rainfall from 1888 to 1890 was below 
the average in the Taluks of Salem, ^' Tiruchengodu, IJttaukarai, 
and Dharmapuri. The south-west monsoon of 1891 failed, and 
by the end of September it was thought advisable to open tost 
works in the four taluks. Work was started on four roads : (1) 
Sankaridrug to Edappadi, (2) Omalur to Chinnappam-patti, (3) 
Dharmapuri to Hogena-kal, (4) Mallapuram to Papi-Reddi-patti. 
Three-fourths of the full task was exacted. A few weeks' trial 
showed that no great demand for work existed, except in Tiruchen- 
gddu Taluk, and by November 15 all the tost works were closed, 
except that from Sankaridrug to Edappddi. The early rains of the 
north-cast monsoon of 1891 promised favourably, cultivation was 

ProocMOB issued. 

Property attached. 

Property sold. 


of de- 



of de- 




of de- 









1287 ... 








1288 ... 

288,486 28,46,065 






1289 ... 

272,291 21,72.739 






* Remission — 

»S. RS. 

Fasli 128G ... 4,13,083 i Fasli 1288 ... 16,024 

„ 1287 ... 3,78,180 | „ 1289 ... 42,664 

• That portion which now oooBtitutes OmalQr Taluk. 

STilASONS. 309 

rosumed, and prices fell. In the middle of November, however, CHAP. Vlli. 
the rains ceased, g-rain merchants held up their stock, and prices rose Faminis. 
rapidly. Kitchens were opened at Salem and Tiruchengodu, and 
relief works were started all over Tinicheng5du Taluk. The 
Collector permitted Tinichengodu ryots to cultivate dry crops on 
wet lands at diy rates of assessment, provided no water for irriga- 
tion was used. The situation remained unchanged in December, 
January and February. In March and April some showers fell, 
from May the season steadily improved, and by July all anxiety was 
at an end. No gratuitous relief was given except in the form of 
cooked food. The Salem kitchen was closed on June 25, 1892, and 
that at '^I'iruchengodu on August 20. The Salem weavers were at 
first seriously affected by a fall in the price of cloths. A grant of 
Es. 20,000 was sanctioned to purchase cloths for their relief, but this 
proved unnecessary. Before it could be disbursed, a Nattukottai 
Chetti, the proprietor of a Salem bank, entered into an agreement 
with certain weavers of Gugai to pay them the cost of twist and silk 
used, as well as the usual money wages, on the condition that the 
weavers sold to the bank all cloths manufactured by them for a 
period of two years. Following this example, the leading weavers 
of Shovapet made a similar arrangement with their local caste men, 
and the price of cloth again became normal. 

Floods on a large scale are fortunately unknown. In May Floods. 
1872, and again in May 1874, the District suffered from cyclones, 
which, though they did notj^ owing to absence of cultivation in 
those months, do much damage to the crops, caused terrible mortality 
among cattle, and breached numerous tanks. In 1878 a " plump " 
of rain fell east of the Mukkanur hill and washed away the railway 
embankment. Such excessive and concentrated rainfall does not 
appear to have been calculated for when the railway was built, as 
may be inferred from the enlarged outlet provided when the 
bridges were rebuilt. In November 1880, a cyclone played havoc 
in Attur Taluk. Thirteen anaikats on the Vasishta-nadi, five on 
the Sweta-nadi, and two important anaikats on other streams were 
washed away, and some twenty tanks were breached. The bridge 
across the Vasishta-nadi near Talaivasal was destroyed, and 
many houses perished. The chief anaikat on the Sweta-nadi, 
however, at Viraganur escaped. Prompt measures were taken to 
repair the damage. Temporary dams were constructed to replace 
the breached anaikats, and these worked so well that not a single 
rupee of remission was required. Eebuilding of the anaikats 
began in February 1881, and by July 15 they were completed 
and the damaged tanks too were in working order. 

In the heavy rains of November 1903, the Pennaiyar rose and 
swept away a portion of the Hosur-Sulagiri road ; the water 



CHAP. VIII. stood 12 ft. over the Ncdungal auaikat, the coping stones wore 
Floods. loosened and the apron underminod ; the Agraharam channel 
was seriously disturbed, and the PubKc Works Department rest- 
house was flooded to a depth of 2 ft. The rising of the river at 
Kaveri-patuam destroyed several houses, and injured the irrigation 
channels which take their rise near by. 





Gkneuai. Ukaltu — Prevalent diseases — Sore-eyes — Skin diseases — Dysen 
tery — Fevers— Guinea- worm — Other diseases — Cholera — Small-pox — Plague 
— Medical Institutions — Sanitation — Water-supply. 



In the open oountrj the air is dry, the soil well drained, the 
climate healthy. Forest and hill tracts are feverish. In order of 
frequency, the diseases most prevalent in the District are those 
affecting the eyes, the skin, and the digestive system, and malarial 
fevers. Apart from malaria, the prevailing ailments are due to a 
want of personal cleanliness among the poorer classes, to scarcity of 
good water, to a low standard of comfort, to indifferent food and 
bad housing. 

From May to July there is nsnally an epidemic of " sore-eyes," Diseases of 
sometimes lasting till September. Eye-flies are plentiful during this *^^ ®y®^' 
season, and are the chief carriers of contagion from one individual 
to another. Popularly the disease is attributed to the prevalence 
of high winds in the months when it is at its worst, some ascribe its 
origin to the pollen of flowers, others associate it with the mango 
season. Eye disease is the heaviest item in the hospitals of Krish- 
nagiri, Dharmapuri and Hosur Taluks. In the southern taluks it 
is less severe. " Sore-eyes ^' are supposed to be one of the main 
causes of blindness. 

Skin diseases and ulcers are very common among the poorer 
classes. Skin diseases are worst in the dry and the cold seasons, 

and are not so bad during the rains. Ulcers are the heaviest item 
in the hospital returns of the southern taluks ; in the Baramahal 
they yield precedence to " sore-eyes." 

Dysentery prevails throughout the District, both in the amoebic Dysentery, 
and the bacillary form. July to October furnish the greatest number ^t®* 
of cases. Deaths from dysentery averaged over 2,000 per annum in 
the 9 years ending 1906. Chronic dysentery is common among the 
poor, particularly in times of stress. It is popularly believed that 
the arrival of the new grain in the market is a primary cause of 
digestive disorders. Intestinal worms give trouble throughout the 
year, especially in May. 

Of the recorded deaths in the District, 34 per cent, are attributed Fevers, 
to " fevers." For the years ending 1906 the average annual 
number of deaths from " fever " was over 16,500. The figures do 







not fluctuate muoh from year to year, the total of 25,000 for 1904 
being quite abnormal. These fevers are mostly of malarial origin, 
and are most prevalent in villages situated near forests, and on the 
slopes or at the foot of hills. The common form in the plains is a 
mild type of intermittent fever, rarely attended by splenic enlarge- 
ments, and amenable to treatment, but in the jungles the tertian and 
quartan forms of intermittent fever, and bilious remittent fevers, 
attended by enlargements of the spleen and liver, with anoemia, are 
very common, and are much more severe in type and injurious to 
health and life. On the hills the feverish season begins with the 
hot weather in March, and continues till the rains have fairly set 
in. Thanks to generations of natural selection, the Malaiyalis 
themselves are comparatively fever-proof, but to visitors from 
the plains the climate is deadly. Yercaud and the Grreen Hills 
are fairly immune, but the rest of the Shevaroys is as bad as 
any part of the District, as planters who chose to live on their 
estates know to their cost. Popularly, malaria on the Shevaroys 
is attributed to the coffee bloom. The light showers of April and 
May certainly give a stimulus to the breeding of Anopheles. On 
other hills the increase of malaria in the hot months is ascribed to 
the drying up of ponds and streams, and the contamination of 
drinking water by rotting leaves, for it is in February that 
deciduous trees begin to cast their verdure. In the eastern 
portion of Hosur Taluk fever is at its worst from March to July, 
and abates with the south-west monsoon. The western half of 
the Taluk is feverish all the year round, but worst from October 
to December. In lowlaud tracts the rains bring fever, the dry 
season being fairly safe. IJttankarai is the most feverish taluk in 
the District. 

Guinea-worm is common in the southern taluks, especially near 
Tiruchengodu and Edappadi. The northern taluks arc compara- 
tively free. Scarcity of water in the hot months necessitates the use, 
for bathing and drinking purposes, of dirty, stagnant pools, which 
have remained undisturbed for the greater part of the year. 
Intermediate hosts of the worm (a species of Cyclops) abound in 
these pools. 

Leprosy is less common in Salem than in most districts, the 
total number of lepers in 1901 being 401, or 1 in every 5,147 
persons, against a Presidency average of 1 in every 2,848. It 
is rather frequently met with among the Malaiyalis of the Kalrayan 
and Shevaroy Hills. Elephantiasis is unknown. Oases of yaws 
occur in the neighbourhood of Edappaxii. Syphilis is as common 
as elscwhcrCj but Malaiyalis (except ou the Shevaroys, where they 
have degenerated), thanks to rigorous caste restrictions, are exempt 


tUBLlO fiEALTfl. 313 

The proportion of deaf-mutes is a little above, that of idiots a little CHAP. IX. 

below, the Presidency average. Gknehal 


The District is subject to epidemics of cholera, chiefly in the 
latter part of the year. Of the 'deaths recorded in the District over 
a period of 5 years ending 1902, 10 per cent, were due to cholera, 
the average per mille of the population being 2. Towns suffered 
most, Salem itself recording nearly 5 deaths from cholera per mille 
of its population, a yearly average of 350, 

Cholera is irregular in its visitations. For instance, in 1901, 
over 18,000 attacks and 11,300 deaths were recorded ; in 1905 only 
21 attacks and 10 deaths. In the former year 1,061 villages were 
affected, in the latter only 7, Rainfall does not seem to account for 
the difference, for though the fall in 1905 was 14 inches below 
normal, the cholera attacks in 1899, when the fall was about the 
same, numbered nearly 9,000. The worst months undoubtedly 
are December and January, and next to them come November and 
February. It is not safe, however, to generalise ; for instance 
April, usually a comparatively safe month, was the heaviest of 
all in the year 1898, with 1,125 attacks, and in the same year 
December showed only 47 attacks, and November none. 

Villages along river banks suffer most, owing to the practice of 
burying dead bodies in or near the river-beds, and the general use 
of rivers as latrines. For example, in Attur the disease usually 
breaks out in the neighbourhood of Belur in September, and follows 
the course of the Vasishta-nadi, attacking village after village in 
regular succession. Salem Taluk contributes the largest number 
of attacks to the District total, Atttir stands next. Yet the local 
distribution of the disease varies capriciously from year to year. 
Thus, in 1898, for every attack in Dharmapuri there were 24 in 
Attur, in 1901 for every attack in Attur there were 10 attacks in 
Dharmapuri. Hosur is comparatively immune from cholera, and 
the disease never assumes an epidemic form on the Shova- 
roys. Coolies sometimes contract cholera in the plains, and 
die of it at Yercaud, but the disease never spreads. On the 
Kolli-malais cholera is rare ; it is occasionally imported, and being 
unfamiliar to the Malaiyalis, it creates a great panic when it does 
occur, hamlets are deserted, and corpses thrown by the wayside 

An epidemic may be short and sharp,' or it may linger for many 
months. For instance, in Salem City in November 1900, there 

^ As many as 10 per cent, of the iuhabitants of a fair-sized village have been 
stricken in a single night. 







were 255 attack s, though for the previous 8 months the town was 
free. The disease subsided before the end of the followiug February, 
the attacks for the 4 months numbering 890. After 3 mouths' im- 
munitj, a second epidemic began, which lasted for 10 months, but 
the attacks numbered only 660 for this period. One of the severest 
epidemics on record was that of 1875. The first seizure was on 
August 16th, there was one attack on the 17th, 2 on the 18th, 12 
on the 19th. From the 21st the epidemic developed rapidly, and 
by the 28th a climax was reached, with 130 attacks and 58 deaths 
in the 24 hours. Till September 4th. the disease was confined to 
the Fort, Gugai and Shevapet ; on September 5th it spread to 
Salem proper, beginning close to the bridge, and travcUiog from 
■west to east. The epidemic continued severe throughout September, 
but by October 7th the number of attacks fell to a siuglo figure, 
and the worst was over. Between August 16th and September 28th, 
there were 2,039 seizures and 840 deaths. 

Small-pox may be said to be endemic and the District is never 
entirely free from the disease. Its ravages vary much from year 
to year. For instance the average number of deaths per annum 
for the nine years ending 1905 was 858. The figures show a 
steady rise from 205 in 1898 to 2,043 in 1901, and thou a steady 
fall. Hosur Taluk usually suffered most, and the Baramahal is 
worse than the Talaghat. In 6 out of the 9 years, Salem City 
showed a clean sheet. 

It is commonly supposed that the Malaiyalis of the Kolli-malais 
are immune from small-pox. This is not correct, though among 
them small-pox does not assume a virulent form. Any one attacked 
with small-pox is rigorously segregated for three months, one 
person only is allowed to attend on the patient, and this nurse is 
usually one who has either had small-pox himself, or has been 
vaccinated. "While the patient continues sick, Mari-amman is 
daily worshipped, bathed, and garlanded with margosa leaves. 
The water poured over the goddess is used for bathing the 
patient, who is also smeared with the margosa leaves. Should 
the patient die, ho is buried on the spot by his attendant, and no 
one else takes part in the funeral ceremonies. If he lives, he 
takes a bath at the end of three months, and is then allowed to 
rejoin his fellows. 

Salem District is more exposed to the ravages of plague than 
any other district in the Presidency except Bcllary, the number of 
seizures up to 30th June 1911 being 21,498 and the death-roll 
16,164. The cost of preventive measures between its fii-st appear- 
ance in 1898 and the end of the financial year 1910-11 was over 



/^ mn-xis.- Tho loss to trado and iudustry is incalculable. Fairs 
and festivals have withered to extinction, and local and municipal 
progress is crippled. The amount of clerical labour alone involved 
may be guessed from the fact that between 1898 and 1903 some 
700,000 plague passports were issued. The source of infection 
is Mysore State. Salem is endangered in two ways. First, Hosur 
Taluk is topographically and ethnically part of Mysore, and its 
peoples freely traffic and intermarry with those of that 
State ; secondly, the Baramahal is the recruiting ground for labour 
in tho Kolar Grold Fields, and there is a constant ebb and 
flow of coolies and their relatives between the two. Infection 
usually begins to spread from Mysore with the rains, and makes 
headway in Hosur Taluk in September or October. It grows more 
acute in November, and is at its worst in tho cold months, from 
December to February. After March, infection is almost eradi- 
cated, and with the next rains the disease is imported afresh 
from Mysoro.2 

The first case was imported into the District on August 28, 1898, within a 
fortnight of the outbreak in Bangalore, by a weaver from that City, wliose brother 
had died there ten days previously. This was followed by scattered imported 
cases in the taluks of Hosur and Krishnagiri, which rose in October to 25 and 
in November to 35, At first most of the villagers exercised a wise quarantine 
against arrivals from the infected State, but the people of Mattigiri carried on a 
stealthy trade with Bangalore, and at the end of November the disease became 
indigenous in that village. The spread was rapid. 

The usual methods of evacuation and disinfection were resorted to, to combat 
the spread of the disease, frontier inspection stations were established on the 
principal routes from Mysore, and nearly 3,000 persons were inoculated. 




1 Provincial funds 6,05,299 

Local funds 7,07,730 

Municipal funds ... ... ... ... ... ... 2,55,285 

The figures relating to charges met from Local funds do not include contri- 
butions from and to other District Boards. 

2 The annual ravages of plague from its first advent are illustrated in the 
sabjoined statement. 










1905-00 ... 






1906-07 ,.. 






1907-08 .. 






1908-09 ... 






1909-10 ... 






1910-11 ... 






1911-12 ... 










Salem City experienced its first visitation in Api*il 1910. Tlie climax 
was reached in November, in wliich month 7-18 attacks and 594 deaths 
were recorded, though some 43,000 inhabitants had quitted the town. From 
December onwards the disease declined steadily-, in February 1911 there were 
only 11 cases, and in March only 2. The total number of attacks was 2,127 
and of deaths 1,721. An inoculation campaign began in September 1910, 
and a good start was made with the inoculation of some 40 Goveriinient officials. 
Inoculation was at first carried on at selected centres, <he localities chosen being 
notified to the public by hand-bills and posters. Private inoculations were 
occasionally arranged for at the residences of some of the leading citizens. As 
the epidemic advanced from one quarter to another, all who were not inoculated 
were compelled to evacuate, and they were not allowed to return to their houses 
unless they could produce certificates of inoculation. Special arrangements were 
made for weavers, and Rs. 2,000 was distributed among the more indigent 
members of the community, at the rate of 6 annas per adult and 3 annas per 
child of over 12 years of age, as batta to compensate them for being temporarily 
incapacitated for work by the effects of inoculation. In all 11,800 weavers 
were inoculated, of whom rather more than half received batta. The total 
number of operations performed in Salem between September 1010 and April 
1911 was 52,440.» 

Between the year 1876-70 and the year 1909-10 the numbei' 
of medical institutions in the District rose from 5 to 26, the 
number of in-patients treated from a little under 500 to more than 
2,000, and the number of oat-patients from just under 31,000 to 

^ The subjoined statement shows the rise and fall of the epidemic, together 
with the progress of inoculation. The figures speak for themselves : — 

Estimated popu- 
lation at end of 
each month. 

Number inocula- 
ted— progres- 
sive total. 


Attacks and (D) 
Deaths among 



Inoculated . 









August 1910 ... 






September „ 








October „ 









November „ 


















January 1911 









February „ 









March „ 









Total ... 





The mortality among inoculates was 62 per cent, against over 88 per cent 
among the mi protected, 



nearly 250,000 '. In the District as reorganised the number of CHAP. IX. 
modical institutions, Local Fund and Municipal, rose from 5 in MEmcAr- 
1875-76 to 26 in 1908-09. Tho number of out-pationts was ^'^s™;;;^"N8. 
just under 31,000 at tho beginning of the period, and 227,527 at 
tho end. In the District as reorganised, medical institutions of all 
kinds number 26, or one to about 73,000 inhabitants. Hospitals 
are maintained by Local Funds at Yercaud (established in 1872), 
Attur(1874), Tiruchengodu (1886), Harm (1876), Hosur (1874), 
Dharmapuri (1874) and Krishnagiri (1874), with accommodation 
for 33 male and 26 female in-patients. The Salem Municipal 
Hospital can hold 19 male and 12 female in-patients. Police 
hospitals ai*e maintained by Government at Salem (12 in- patients) 
and Hosui" (2 patients). There is also a hospital in the Salem 
Central Jail. Dispensaries are maintained by Local Funds at 
Easipuram (1888), Omalur (1888), Tammampatti (1889), Sankari- 
drug'(J876), IJttankarai (1881), Pennagaram (1887), Palakodu 
(1889), Tali (1889), Denkani-kota (1887), Kaya-kota (1890). 
One dispensary is kept up by the Salem Municipality. The 
Women and Children's Dispensary at Salem was converted into 
the Alexandra Hospital for Women in January 1910, with accom- 
modation for 12 in-patients, besides 2 beds in the maternity ward. 
The busiest dispensary outside the municipality is that at Rasi- 
puram, the slackest that at tJttankarai 2. 

Indirectly the advent of plague has been beneficial, as it has Sanitation. 
led to the employment of a preventive staff of sanitary inspectors, 
which has done much to improve the general sanitary condition of 
the District when not actually engaged with a plague epidemic. 
In 1911 as many as 380 sweepers, 69 scavengers and 45 
maistries were maintained from Local Funds. Of this staff, 312 
sweepers and 61 scavengers served under Unions. It is not easy 
to obtain the services of scavengers, especially in the northern 

The conservancy establishment of Salem Municipality is a large 
one. For general conservancy, 135 scavengers and 74 sweepers 
were employed in 1910, their work being supervised by 4 sanitary 
inspectors, attended by 15 peons. The private scavenging system 
was introduced in April 1893, and by 1910 some 2,814 houses 
were being served. This involved the employment of one sani- 
tary inspector and 69 totics. 

In 1876 the water-supply of Salem Town was reported to be Water- 
" as bad as it well can be as regards the quality, but not the quantity, «''''''^'^- 

^ Inclasive of Tiruppattur and Namakkal. 

* Further particulars of these institutions g,re given ia Chapter XV, 



CHAP. IX. of water. It is to the water that we must in a great measure look 
Water- for the reasons of theiprovalouce of cholera in the town. In addition 
8UPPLT. ^Q ^}jg numerous private wells, . . . there are 72 munici- 
Saiem Town, pal wells, which are sunk in gravelly or rocky soil to an average depth 
of 20 to 30 feet ; these all contain good water, and are kept in repair 
by the Municipality. They contain a sufficient supply of water, 
if properly utilised for the requirements of the town ; but unhap- 
pily the river is the main source of all drinking water, and, in 
spite of all warning, and in spite of the evident defilement of the 
water by the filth from the drains, the filth from the dirty clothes, 
and the filth from the men's bodies, the poorer natives continue to 
drink river water." In one point this report is inaccurate. Water 
is as deficient in quantity as in quality. For instance, in 1866 
the Collector reported that in Salem the public wells were so low 
that " people were obliged to scrape the water up in coco-nut 
shells, and it took 15 or 20 minutes before a single potful of water 
could be collected." Water famine recurred almost annually, and 
often began in February. Wells, both private and public, soon 
became aseless, and drinking-water was hawked from door to door. 
The first practical improvement in the municipal water-supply 
was the establishment of an oil-engine pump in Arisi-palaiyam. 
During the water scarcity of 1906, when almost all other wells in 
Shevapet, Grngai and Fort were exhausted, the Arisi-palaiyara tank 
was the main supply for thirty thousand people, and a census 
showed that about 13,000 brass potfuls, amounting to some 
fifty thousand gallons, were removed daily from this single well. 
The tank is surrounded by a substantial wall, and water is pumped 
into a roofed masonry reservoir at the roadside, whence it is 
directly drawn by taps. Strong springs were struck in deepening 
the well, and in an ordinary season some 3,000 pots were filled 
daily. No attempt is made to filter the water, but the quarters that 
derive drinking-water from the now installation were oholera-free. 
The whole plant cost only Es. 5,600 to set up. 

The scheme finally adopted was formulated by Mr. Target, the 
Executive Engineer, in 1884. It received the sanction of Govern- 
ment in the year 1907-08. The Panamarattn-patti tank is an 
imperial irrigation source with an oydkat of 327 acres, situated 9 
miles south-cast of the town of Salem, at the entrance to the 
valley between the Boda-malais and the Jerugu-malais. This tank 
is supplied, partly by its own free catchment of 8^ square miles, 
and partly by a channel which takes off just above an old anaikat 
across the Panamarattu-patti river, otherwise called the Varattar. 
The scheme provided for raising the full tank level of this tank 
by 21 feet, and for connecting it with the town of Salem by a 


steel main, 9 miles in length ; for the oonstruotion of a new anaikat CHAP. ix. 
across the Varattar river about half a mile above the site of the Water- 
old anaikat, for the excavation of a new supply channel to the '"' "''^^'^ ' 
reservoir, three-quarters of a mile in length, and for the construe- Salem Town, 
tion of a regulating sluice at the head of the new supply channel ; 
also for the construction of a surplus weir, a valve tower, and an 
irrigation sluice in the bund of the new reservoir. The filter beds, 
of which there are three, are situated a short distance below the 
bund of the reservoir. The water from the reservoir passes 
through the valve tower into the filter beds, and thence by gravi- 
tation through the steel main to the town. At the end of the 
steel main is situated a service reservoir, which holds sufficient 
water to supply the present population of Salem with water for 
half a day, i.e., 420,775 gallons. The capacity of the new 
reservoir, when full, is 220 millions cubic feet. This quantity of 
water, after allowing for loss by evaporation and absorption and 
for the water required for the irrigation of 327 acres of wet 
cultivation, is sufficient to supply a population of 80,000 for 
383 days at the rate of 15 gallons per head per diem. The catch- 
ment area of the Varattar above the now anaikat is 16 square 
miles, and it can be extended by another 3^ square miles, if 
necessary. The filtering material in the filter beds is partly 
broken stone and partly well- washed sand. The water is distri- 
buted over the town through cast-iron branch pipe lines, and is 
made available to the public by moans of 105 different fountains. 
The total cost of the scheme was Rs. 8,40,300 \ towards which 
Government contributed Rs. 4,65,150, the remainder being met by 
a municipal loan of Es. 3,75,150, repayable in 80 years. Work 
began in 1908-09, and the opening ceremony took place on 
December 12, 1911. Unfortunately, owing to some defect in the 
pipes and to the failure of the north-east monsoon, a proper supply 
was not received during the first year. 

* Including Rs. 30,300 for improving the tank-bnnd, which had sunk during 
the progress of the work, and foi- extending the tunnel to the irrigation sluice. 





By Com- 


LiTKRACY — By Commnnities — By Taluks — By Languages. History ok Kduca- 
TioN.— EnncwTioNAt, AoENCiKS— Local and Municipal— Aided Schools- 
London Mission — Industrial School— Missouri Lutheran Mission — Catholic 
Missions. Institutions — (A) for Boys — Salom Colk-go— Secondary Schools 
— Primary Schools — Technical Education — Mnhammadan Education — 
Muhamniadan Educational Assooiation — Fanchama Schools ; (B) Edncation 

of GitlS— FiNANCR. 

J^.B.— The Census of 1911 was taken after Niimakkal Talnk was transferred 
to Trichinopoly, and before Tiruppattar Taluk was lopjied off. Hence in sketch* 
ing the growth of Edncation comparatiTO statistics for the whole District have 
been given. 

Of all the districts of the Prosidonoy in poiut of litoracy Salem 
usually stands last. The figures speak for themselves. 

Number of literate persons per 


1,000 of tlio population. 
























In the Census of 1911 out of a population of 1,766,680 as many 
as 1,691,107 were illiterate. The difficulty of educating a poly- 
glot population partly accounts for this backwardness, and the 
stagnation shown by the figures of 1901 is due to the advent of 
plague, and the consequent repeated closure of schools. 

The Muhamraadans, in both 1901 and 1911, wore the least 
illiterate community, being well in advance of their co-religionists 
in the rest of the Presidency. The Christians fell a long way 
behind the Muhammadans in the literacy of their males, and wore 
not up to the Presidency average. The attention paid by Christians. 
however, to the education of their ^irls raises the average for the 



whole ooramunity almost to the level of that of the Muhammadans. 
Tho Hindus were hopelessly in the rear. The figures are sub- 
joined : — 

Number of literate persons per thousand. 






— . 





mmunity, 1 







I— 1 




















!- I— I 

® o 










Muhammadans ... 









Christians ... 































Krishnagiri ... 



Dharmapuri ... 






TiruchengOdu . 






The marginal statement shows the number of literate males per By Taluks. 

mille in each taluk in 1911, and 
exhibits the improvement effected 
since 1901. Female literacy is 
highest in Salem Taluk (9 per 
mille), Krishnagiri comes next 
with 6 per mille, Atttir third with 
4, Hostir and Tiruchengodu stand 
between 3 and 4, while Omalnr, 
Dharmapuri and Uttankarai stand between 2 and 3, 

In 1901 Salem Town stood tenth among the 11 largest cities of 
the Presidency, with an average of 136 literate persons per mille. 
Though, owing to plague, the figures for 1911 are hardly an 
accurate test, the average rose to 155 per mille, the figure for males 
being 286 and for females 27. 

In 1901, for the whole District, 71,712 persons were literate in fj^^^''^''* 
Tamil, against 8,380 in Telugu, and 988 in Kanarese. As many 
as 2,517 were literate in " other languages," among them being 
2,1 87 Muhammadans. Of the Telugu literates, more than half 
(4,133) lived in Hosur Taluk, and in that Taluk only 1,369 were 
literate in Tamil. Two-thirds of the Kanarese were in Hosur 
(674). In Krishnagiri the figures were Tamil 4,445, and Telugu 
1,285. In Salem Taluk there were 1,080 literate in Telugu, of 
whom 788 were in Salem Town itself. 

Under Mysore rule the art of writing seems to have been a 
Brahman monopoly. Haidar and Tipu relied mainly on Brahman 






accormtants, and the Muhammadan Tahsildars appointed by Tipu 
were often quite illiterate. 

The first educational effort under British rule was made by Sir 
Thomas Munro, who in 1822 called for reports on the educational 
status of each district. The report for Salem, dated 8th June, 
1823, shows 386 schools in existence, with a strength of 4,650 
pupils, in an estimated population of 1,076,000. The financial 
resources available for educational purposes were hardly en- 
couraging. The one existing endowment for Muhammadan 
education yielded Es. 20 per annum. For Hindus there was no 
endowment. Inam lands, yielding Rs. 1,109 per annum, provided 
for 20 teachers of theology, law and astronomy ; other lands, 
yielding Es. 384 per annum, had formerly bo^n devoted to the 
same object, but the land was sequestered before the cession to the 
British, and the proceeds were included in Government revenue. 
Sir Thomas Munro's scheme, March 3, 1826, did not contemplate 
" any interference whatever in the native schools. The people 
should bo left to manage their schools in their own way." A 
Hindu and Muhammadan school was to be established in each 
collectorate, and inferior schools in each taluk. A Committee 
of Public Instruction was organised to carry out Munro's proposals. 
But official enthusiasm was evanescent, at least in Salem District, 
for, in 1827, Mr. M. D. Cockburn handed over five " schools 
under the patronage of the Magistrate " to the Eev, Henry Crisp, 
of the London Mission, who settled in Salem in October of that 
year. The total strength of those five schools was only 127 pupils. 
In each school, it appears, a different language was taught, for 
they are described as " English, Tamil, Telugu, Mahratta and 
Persian." Official responsibilities did not, however, cease with 
this transfer, for a report of . 1834 on " Tahsildari schools" 
mentions three, viz., a Tamil school at Salem, another at 
Tiruppattur, and a Tolugu school at Hosur.' 

The next move ou the part of Government was in 1854, when 
Lord EUenborough's Despatch was written, and it resulted in the 
establishment of a school in Salem in 1856, under the auspices of 

^ The actual figures at this early date may be of interest. 




■ts . 
































Sir A. J. Arbuthnot' which was raised to the status of a Zilla School 
on April 14,1857. lu the followiug year, 1858, Talnk Schools 
were opened at Hosur (May 1), Dharmapuri (November 18) 
and ICrishnagiri (December 31), with a strength of 62, 41 and 70, 
respectively. Tliis was a good start, bnt for the next 12 years the 
advance of education was by no means general, and depended 
mainly on the enthusiasm of a few individuals. The Grant-in- 
Aid svstem was introduced in 1863-4. 

Fresh impetus was given to education by the passing of the 
Local Fund Act IV, 1871, and from that date the burden of 
education devolved mainly on Local Funds.^ An attempt was made 
in 1873 to impose upon the District the " Union System" and the 
Town Improvement Act (III of 1871), but the scheme was strongly 
opposed by Lord Hobart, the then Governor, and fell through. 
Under the system, " Bate Schools " were to be established in Tur&l 
tracts, and their cost defrayed by a house tax on all houses within 

a radius of 2^ miles of each school. 

The progress of educational work since 1871-2 is shown in 
the subjoined statement.^ The ravages of plague are seen in the 
drop from 1896-7 to 1901^2 :— 





























In 1907 the work of education was distributed as follows 

Boys' Schools. 

Girls' Schools. 















Local Fund 



Aided ... 










Private .. 






! 997 





History of 



Thus Local and Municipal Funds were responsible for not Local and 
quite half the scholars in boys' schools, while rather less than "°'^^P* • 

^ The first Director of Public Instruction. 

^ Vide Report on Public Instruction in the Madras Presidency for 1871-2, 
page 08 sq. 

^ The figures for 1871-2 and 1881-2 include only scholars "connected with 
the Department." The latter figures include " indigenous scholars." The 
figures given for boys include the pupils in N'ormal Schools. 






Local and 



one-third were in Aided Schools. One-third of the scholars in p^iris' 
schools read in Government institutions, and most of the remain- 
ing two-thirds in Aided Schools. The only Government hoys' 
school is the Normal School at Salem. 

The Local Boards were, in 1907, responsible for 9 Secondary 
Schools with 1,353 scholars, inclnsive of their Primary Depart- 
ments, and Municipalities for two with 287 scholars, in addition to 
Salem College. With the excision of Namakkal and Tirnppattiir, 
however, the numher is reduced to 3, namely, the High School 
classes of Salem College, and the Incomplete Secondary Schools at 
Krishnagiri, and Dharmapuri. In the District as at present consti- 
tuted the Salem Taluk Board maintains 66 Elementary Schools, 
that of Sankaridrug 42, that of Hosur 65, that of Dharmapuri 68, 
and the Salem Municipality 13. 

Since 1827, when the Collector handed over to Mr. Crisp 
the five schools above referred to, the London Mission has 
rendered great educational service to the District. By 1833 the 

numher of schools had risen to 7. 
In 1841 schools were opened at 
Rasipuram and Dharmapuri, and 
the numher of scholars was 467. 
In the next decade there was 
falling off, the number in 1851 
being only 194, of whom 48 
were girls. In 1861 a great blow 
was dealt to the educational institutions of the Mission by the 
death of Mr, Leohler. By 1872 there were 321 boys and 216 girls. 
Since 1881 the figures are as shown in the margin. 

The most impoi+ant institution under the Mission is the liigh 
School, Salem. Founded in 1863 as a primary school by the Eev. 
Gr. Mabbs, it was raised to the status of a high school by Mr. 
Phillips in 1877. The Mission led the way in female education 
with the Shevapet Girls' School, which was founded in 1835 by 
Mrs. Walton. A boarding school was opened by Miss Lodge in 
Hastampatti in 1891, Several elementary schools, for girls as 
well as boys, ai'e maintained in Salem Town and in the Talaghat 
taluks, the most important being that at Attur, foimded by Mr. 

The London Mission was also the pioneer of industrial 
education in Salem District. As far back as 1840 the Eev. 
J. M. Lechler opened a small school in Salem, and admitted 6 
pupils, three of whom were taught carpentry and three tailoring. 
Later on he brought two artisans from Germany, one of whom, 
Mr. C. Rahm, after working in the school for ten years, left and 


Boys'' ^ 
Schools, o* 






1881 ... 





1891 ... 





IhOl „. 











settlod as a planter ou the ^hovaroys. The school was woU CHAP. X. 
equipped with tools, and did good work for some 21 years. The Educatioxat. 

crafts taught included carpentry, turning, cabinet-making, black- J " * 

smith and locksmith work and brick -laying. Unfortunately, on Industrial 
the death of Mr. Lcehler in 1861, the whole of the valuable ^^^'°'*^- 
property and plant was sold by his successors, who objected to 
industrial education as tending to secularise Mission work. 

In 1896 Mr. Dignum decided to make a fresh start, and issued 
an appeal for subscriptions to enable him to build a small school 
and provide the necessary plant. For two years the school was 
maintained by the subscriptions of friends in Salem. It was then 
recognised by the London Mission Society, and subsidised . by a 
grant of Es. 30 per mensem from Mission funds. It was also 
recognised by the Director of Public Instruction, who made a 
grant of Es. 100 per annum, which he afterwards raised to 
Rs. 150. At the beginning of 1900 he recognised the school as an 
Advanced Technical School. The proceeds of the sales of work 
done in the school amounted to Es. 5,000, and no difficulty has so 
far been experienced in obtaining orders for work. 

The Missouri Lutheran ilission supported a number of elc- Missouri 
mentary schools in Krishnagiri Taluk. The Leipzig Evangelical J^j^l^gJ^n'^ 
Lutheran Mission maintained a small school at Yercaud. The Eoman Catholic 
Catholic Missions are not ambitious in their educational work in ^^'^sions. 
the District ; elementary schools are kept up at their chief settle- 
ments, and at Yercaud there is a flourishing boarding school for 
European children, and another for native girls, conducted respec- 
tively by the Eui-opean and Native nuns of St. Joseph of Cluny. 

The Municipal College traces its origin to the first elementary Institutions. 
school already referred to, established in the District by Sir ^oy^"'' 
A. J. Arbuthnot in 1856, w-ith Mr. C. J. Macarthy as head- Salem 
master.^ The school was formally opened on May 1st of that year ^^'o'l^&e. 
by the Collector, Mr. H. A. Brett. In the year following (April 
14, 1857) the school was raised to the rank of a " Zilla School ", 
with a strength of 195 pupils. Next year more than one-third 
of the pupils deserted, because a boy of low caste was admitted on 
the rolls. It was many years before the school recovered its 
original strength. Up to 1863 the school was held in a rented 
building. In that year the present school house was erected 
at a cost of Es. 6,850, partly by public subscriptions, partly by 
Government contributions. The President of the school com- 
mittee was Mr. George Fischer. Candidates were first sent up for 
Matriculation in 1866. Thirteen years later (1879), College classes 

^ For the acconnt vphich follows I am indebted to Mr. S. A. Shutie, Principal 
of the College. 





Mr. C. 

J. Maoarthy 

Lverage number on roll. 













CHAP. X. were opened with six students in the jnnior F.A. class. On 

Institutions. Januarv 1st, 1884, the mauag-emeut of the Middle School depart- 

mcnt was transferred to the Salem Municipal Council, which took 

over the College and High School department also on Ootoher Ist 

of the following year. 

was succeeded as Head Master of the 
Zillah School by Mr. T. M. Scott. 
The first Head Master of the 
College was Mr. J. Small.^ He 
was followed by Mr. E. E. Perrett 
in Jamiary 1883, and he in turn 
by Mr. S. A. Shutie in August 
1892. The marginal statement* 
shows tho number of students on the rolls of the College depart- 
ment for each quinquennium from' 1881-1882 up to date. 

Secondary education in the District has so far made slow 

progress. + The progress of the 

schools at Salem, Krishuagiri 

and Dharmapm-i has been 

continuous from tho date of 

their foundation, but tho school 

at Hostir was reduced to ele- 

nv^utary status in 1908.^ Atttir School has suffered tho same 

fate. Spasmodic attempts have been made from time to time to 

extend the scope of the schools at Tiruohengodu, Easipuram, 

Sankaridrtig and Denkani-kota, above the fourth standard. 

The progress of primary education has not been rapid t. In 

1907, out of every lOU boys in 

t Year. 










: Year. 







primary classes, 47 were in 
schools run by Local Boards and 
MunioipaliUes, 32 in aided 
schools, and 21 in unaided 
schools. Of the several classes of the community that avail 
themselves of elementary education, the sons of landowners are 
most numerous, merchants stand second and arti/ans third. 
Board schools attract the middle classes, officials, Brahmans, 
Muhammadans, merchants, and, in the north, artizans. Unaided 
schools depend on the poorer and " coolie " classes ; their mainstay 
is the agricultural classes, and, in the south, the artizans. 

* Appointed Head Master of the Zillah School in July 1864 and of the 
College in January 1879. 

* The schools at Hostir and Denkani-kota are now " High Grade Elementary 
Schools," the former reading up to the Seventh Standard, the Jatter up to the 



Another point worth noting is the contrast between the 
northern and the sontheru talnks. In the first place the schools 
in the iiortheru taluks are smaller than those in the south. Again 
the northern taluks depend more onboard schools, than the south, 
where the proportion of boys in aided and unaided schools is 
relatively large. Thirdly, poor and backward classes, artizans 
and coolies, attend school more freely in the sotith, while 
the northern schools contain a larger proportion of merohauts, 
officials, Muhammadans and Brahmans. 

In 1896-1897 it was estimated that 86 per cent, of the 
Muhammadan boys of school-going age, and nearly 20 per cent, 
of the girls, were under instruction, as against 20 per cent, of 
the boys and 2^ per cent, of the girls of the District as a whole. 
In the next ten years there was a slight falling off, owing to the 
plague epidemics. The Taluk Boards maintain about 20 Hindu- 
stani schools, and the Salem Mimicipality 5. 

The Salom Muhammadan Educational Association was founded 
in 1895 by Khan Bahadur Muhammad Aziz-ud-diu Husain Sahib 
Bahadur under the presidentship of Mr. (now Sir Gabriel) Stokes. 
For the use of its members, the Sir Gabriel Stokes Hall was 
erected in Salem by public subscription, and was opened by the 
founder of the Association on February 17, 1912. 

The education of Panchamas is a formidable problem in a 
District in which the Pariahs, Chucklers, Valluvars and Pallars 
alone number over 300,000. In 1903-1904 the number of Local 
Fund Panchama schools was pnly 19, and their attendance 571. 
These schools were situated mostly in small villages where the 
Panchama quarters are large. A feature of Panchama education 
is that a school rarely thrives for many years consecutively in any 
one place, and hence little continuity of policy is possible. It is 
difficult to secure regular attendance, because among the poorest 
classes children begin at a very early age to assist their parents in 
earning their daily bread. 

A peculiar feature of " Female Education " is that a large 
proportion of girl scholars read in boys' schools, as the subjoined 
statement shows : — 



for girls. 

Scholars in 


for girls. 







Total girl 








dan Educa- 

dan Educa- 


B. Educa- 
tion OF 






Grirls' schools are maintained by Government at Salem, 
Shevapet, Attur, Tirachent^odn, Dharmapuri, Hostir and Krishna- 
giri. That at Shevapet is for Mnhammadans only. Of aided 
institutions, Nabi Sahib's School at Attur deserves mention. The 
secondary education of girls has made very little progress. 

In 1862-63 the cost per pupil in the Zilla School was Es. 40. 
Government granted Es. 5,660, and fees (at Ee. 1 and 8 annas per 
head) realised Es. 1,445. The net expenditure from public funds 
from 1881 as compared with the gross total expenditure on Edu- 
cation for the whole District is as follows : — 



Local Fund. 















1 Inclusivo of fees and of expendifcnro met by endowments, subscriptions 
and Mission and other private funds. 







Richards, F. J